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Generally as historical information lias been 
diffiised of late years, there exists a large class of 
readers not perfectly cognisant of the causes that 
little more than a hundred years ago placed a 
foreigner on the throne of these kingdoms. His 
pretensions had been transmitted to him by his 
father, a younger son of one of the branches of 
the house of Brunswick-Liineburg, who obtained 
them through his marriage with Sophia, a scion 
of the House Of Stuart, and grand-daughter of 
James I. The first issue of this imion was 
George, Crown Prince of Hanover, which state 
was raised from a duchy into an electorate towards 
the close of the seventeenth century. This Prince 

a 2 


was bom in 1660, and married, in 1682, his cousin, 
Sophia Dorothea, the only child of the Duke of 
Zelle. But their union was dissolved, about ten 
years subsequently, in consequence of the violence 
and insults which the Princess suffered from her 
husband at last becoming intolerable, and because 
an attempt had been made to fix upon her the 
stain of a criminal intimacy with the celebrated 
Count Kouigsmark. The veil of mystery is here 
completely drawn from the tragic fate which so 
suddenly overtook this brilliant soldier of fortune, 
and a true account given, not only of the proceed- 
ings which led to the arbitrary divorce of the 
Princess from her husband, (soon afterwards, by 
the demise of his fether. Elector of Hanover,) and 
forced separation from her children, George, 
afterwards George 11^ and Sophia Dorothea, sub- 
sequently consort of Frederick William I^ of 
Prussia, but of her confinement for life in the 
castle of Ahlden,^ in the duchy of Zelle. Her 
husband profited greatly by the exi)atriation of 
James II., as the Act of Settlement passed by the 
British Parliament in 1701 declared liis mother, 
the Dowager Electress Sophia of Hanover, to be 


next in succession to the British crown after the 
demise of Queen Anne. The Dowager Electress 
dying a short time before the Queen, her claim to 
the throne descended to her son, then of the ma- 
ture age of fifty-three. 

It is not wonderful, then, as well on account of 
the nature of all the proceedings against the un- 
happy Princess, as of the deliberate murder of Kb- 
nigsmark, that the Court of Hanover should be par- 
ticularly solicitous that all the circumstances rela- 
tive to both might be buried in obscurity, and if 
possible consigned to utter oblivion. Hence it was 
that on the arrival of the Elector of Hanover in 
England, his new subjects were left by him to 
suppose that he was a widower. Not a word was 
dropped by his Majesty denoting the existence of 
his unhappy consort, and the members of his Hano- 
verian suiiey male and female, knew their busi- 
ness a great deal too weU to breathe so much as 
a hint on the subject. As a singular proof of 
the care taken to prevent inquiry, Chamberlayne's 
Present State of Great Britain, published 1716, 
which professes to give the most comprehensive 
information respecting the family of George I., as 
well as the state of his new kingdom, does not 


contain even the name of Sophia Dorothea; and 
in the Memoirs of Ker of Kersland, published 
about the commencement of the year 1726, the 
writer, who had visited the courts of Hanover 
and Zelle some years after her marriage, merely 
alludes to her as "^ a most beautiful Princess, sole 
heiress of the Duke of Zelle.*" Ker wns Consul 
at Amsterdam in the reign of James II., and 
put himself to great trouble and expense to ad- 
vance the interests of the House of Brunswick- 
Liineburg. In his work he complains bitterly, 
that when ho was no longer of use, so little were 
his services regarded, that he could not get paid 
his expenses. The Hanoverian favourites grasped 
at everything, and treated all British subjects 
who had claims on the King, with studied indig- 
nity. He involved himself in trouble, by pub- 
lishing his Memoirs, and died in the Eling's Bench 
on the 8th of July, 1726. Of the debt of 3,000/., 
owing to him for his disbursements on behalf 
of the King, he never received a shilling. 

Notwithstanding this extraordinary paucity of 
information in England, regarding the consort of 
its sovereign, mysterious rumours found their way 
into circulation respecting her, previously to the 


death of George I., which were repeated with 
greater confidence during the reign of his son. 
On the Continent, especially throughout Germany 
and France, the name of Sophia Dorothea had 
become the theme of the most marvellous narra- 
tives. Some of these, in a printed shape, reached 
England, and though full of absurdities, were 
translated and eagerly read. But it was not till 
after the death of George II., that the subject 
could be considered a familiar one, and for some 
time subsequently to the accession of George 
IIL, the published narratives, whether from a 
German or French original, untrustworthy as they 
were, were frequently rendered more so, by the 
writers employing erroneous names. In the Gen- 
tleman's Magazine for 1773, there is " A Narra- 
tive of the Sufferings of Christina^ Princess of 
Zelle," evidently from a German source, where 
the truth, compared to the fiction, is as Falstaff's 
halfpenny-worth of bread to his prodigious quan- 
tity of sack. Horace Walpole flattered himself 
that, in the recollections of a cast-off mistress of 
George II., and other gossipping sources, he had 
obtained revelations respecting the mysterious 
Princess of Zelle, as authentic as he thought them 


extraordinary. He revealed, however, little more 
than had been frequently published on the Con- 
tinent, but notwithstanding his numerous errors 
respecting the Princess and her handsome lover, 
his statements excited a great deal of attention. 
Archdeacon Coxe, in his Memoirs of Sir Robert 
Walpole, has preserved some of the features of 
the same sad story, and alludes to the general be- 
lief of Konigsmark's assassination by the Coun- 
tess Platen. 

From these sources, or more directly from the 
" Histoire de la Duchesse d^Haruwre,'* published 
in 1732, were derived the different biographies 
of the consort of George I., that issued from the 
press in this country. In 1821, a work was pub- 
lished in London, under the title of ** Anecdotes 
and Characters of the House of Brunswick," wliich, 
among other marvels, contained an assumed trans- 
lation from a German narrative, ostensibly written 
by a person who pretended XJb have been secretary 
to the dowager Electress Sophia, and divulging her 
secrets, as it was put forth, for the benefit of Prince 
Frederic, her^great grandson. This writer's revela- 
tions are very singular — so very singular indeed, as 
to be utterly unworthy of credit But monstrous as 


are the statements of this pretended secretary, the 
journal he produces as that of the Princess Sophia 
Dorothea is a still clumsier fabrication. She is 
there represented as being confined to the one damp 
room in the castle where she was immured, and 
as having no other attendants than her jailer, 
a certain " Long Piet," and his wife. It is 
scarcely necessary to add, that no such persons 
were in the establishment at Ahlden, and that 
that "* Journal" is a romance of the most common- 
place character. 

The Princess was confined certainly, and most 
jealously watched and guarded ; but as a prisoner 
of state, not as a vulgar criminal. She was 
allowed the retinue of a princess, was mistress of 
a large income, and might have all the indulgences 
proper for a person of her rank, save those she 
most ardently desired, — ^freedom firom espionage, 
her liberty, and the society of her children. 
Writing formed her principal occupation, and a 
considerable portion of this work is drawn from 
materials collected by herself during her long and 
arbitrary seclusion from the world. In the com- 
position of these pages, recourse has also been had 
to the secret archives of Hanover, Brunswick, 


Vienna, Dresden, and Berlin, as well as to papers 
preserved by descendants of various fnends of the 
imprisoned Princess. The documents of which 
the most use has been made, are the following : — 

1. LeicJienrpredigt auf C. E. Grdfin wn Plor 
ten^ mit den Personalien. This is the death-bed 
confession of the Countess Platen, and possesses 
remarks in the margin in the hand-writing of 
the officiating clergyman. — MS. from the Archives 
of Vienna. 

2. Nachrichten von der ehemaligen Churprin^ 
zessin Sophia Dorothea von Hannover^ sogenann- 
ten Prinzessm von Ahlden^ Gemahlin des Chur- 
prmzen Georg Ludwig^ nachherigen Konig 

Georg J. von Grosbritannien. Geschriehen von 
der Hofdame der Churprmzessin dem Frdulein 
von dem Knesebeck. This is the memoir of So- 
phia Dorothea written by her faithful attendant 
Mademoiselle Elnesebeck, subsequently LAdy of 
Honour at the court of her daughter, the Queen 
of Prussia.— MS. from the Archives of Berlin, 
a translation of which will be found in the Ap- 

3. Papers transniitted by Sophia Dorothea, 
shojrtly before her decease, to persons in her con- 


fidence, bearing the title Precis de mon destin et 
de ma prison. This was a large parcel, contain- 
ing the very curious " Diary of Conversations," 
to be found in the second volume of this work. 
The original MS. is in Hanover, and there is a 

4. Documents from 1665 to 1726, relating to 
the fate of the Princess. — From the Archives of 

5. Letters from the Princess, written during 
her imprisonment. — In private hands. 

6. Baimigarten's Extracts from the Archives 
at Zelle. 

7. Thies's copies of documents relating to the 
dissolution of marriage of the Princess. — From 
the Archives of Berlin. 

8. The opinion of the learned Thomasius on 
her inheritance. — From the Archives at Hanover. 
A copy, preserved by her solicitor, is in the pos- 
session of his Royal Highness the Duke of 

9. Depositions of certain witnesses respecting 
the murder of Count Eonigsmark. — From. MSS. 
in the Archives at Hanover. 

Many other sources of information have been 


sought, and every effort made to render this work 
a memorial worthy of the illustrious Princess, 
whose story is now, for the first time, presented 
to the reader in a manner which it is hoped will 
be considered as deserving of his confidence as of 
his sympathy. 




The age of duTalry — A wronged princess an exciting subject 
at that period — Far from being uninteresting at the present 
daj— Mjsterj and misrepresentation — Sophia Dorothea the 
Iron Mask of the Court of Hanover — Comparison between 
Louis XIY. and George I. as despots — Ignorance in Eng- 
land respecting the consort of Geoi^ I. — Duke George 
William of 2^11e — His Venetian mistress — His natural sou 
— Another tender intimacy— Eleonore Marquise d'Ol- 
breuse — French lessons — ^Duke George "^^nUiam becomes 
attached to Mademoiselle d'Olbreuse — His previous engage- 
ment not to marry— His brother the Bishop of Osnabrilck 
— The Duke's plan for evading his engagement — Left-hand 
marriages — ^Mademoiselle d'Olbreuse disapproves of such 
union— Her objections at last overruled — Left-hand mar- 
riage of the Duke with Mademoiselle d'Olbreuse — ^Thej 
become the parents of Sophia Dorothea — Her birth — 
Uneasiness of the Bishops respecting this connexion 

Page 1 



The Duke of Zelle*8 liberal intentions respecting Madame von 
Harbnrg and her child — His first settlement in their 
fayour — Admirable conduct of the mother of Sophia Doro- 
thea — ^The Duke shows his sense of it by more handsome 
settlements — She bears the title of Countess of Wilhelms- 
burg — Reports respecting these transactions — Anthony 
inrich Duke of Wolfenbuttel— His friendship for the 
Coimtess — Sophia Dorothea — Her early intimacy with 
Count Kooigsmark — Legal marriage of the Duke of Zelle 
with the Countess of Wilhelmsburg — Arrangements for 
sanctioning this union entered into by the Duke and his 
brother the Bishop — The Assembly of the Estates sanction 
the marriage— Sophia Dorothea elevated to the rank of 
princess . . .23 


Sophia Dorothea an object of interest among the princes of 
Germany — ^An alliance with the family of the Duke of 
"Wolfenbuttel preferred by her mother — She is betrothed to 
his eldest son, Prince Augustus Frederick — He is killed 
soon afterwards at the siege of Philipsburg — Disappoint- 
ment of the Duchess of Zelle — Her fame — The Bishop of 
Osnabruck regards her with ill will ^ He becomes an imitator 
of Louis XIV. — Court mistresses — The Bishop's personal 
appearance — ^Mesdemoiselles Von Meisenberg — They write 
a French pastoral in which they appear before the Bishop's 
sons — Effect of their fascinations on the young princes and 
their govemors—M. Platen marries the eldest Mademoiselle 
Meisenberg—M. Busche is united to her sister — Conduct 
of these ladies on their introduction at court — Platen be- 
comes prime minister of the Bishop of Osnabruck »His 


manoeuvres to bring forward his wife — She obtains a place 
at court — Comparison between Madame Platen and Madame 
de Maintenon, and Alice Ferrers — Petticoat influence — 
Madame Platen becomes the mistress of the Bishop — In- 
structs her sister how to secure the same connexion with 
his eldest son — Education of the Princess Sophia Dorotheas- 
Count Konigsmark enters the army — Prince Augustus Wil- 
liam of Woltenbiittel a suitor for the liand of Sopliia Do- 
rothea — Objections of her father — The Princess at this 
period — ^The Duchess of Zelle favours the view of Prince 
Augustus William-^Betrothai of the Prince and Princess de- 
ferred — Madame Platen's intrigues to increase her influence 
over the Bishop .49 


George Lewis^ Crown Prince of Hanover^ eldest son of the * 
Bishop of Osnabrilck — ^His neglected education — The Prin- 
cess Sophia, his mother — Dean Lockier's opinion of her — 
The Crown Prince embraces the military profession — Dis- 
tinguishes himself in the field — He travels to England — 
Becomes a suitor for the hand of Princess Anne, daughter 
of James II. — His want of success— -The Bishop succeeds 
to the territories of his brother, Duke John Frederick — 
Further arrangements between him and the Duke of 2^lle — 
His jealousy of the Duke of Wolfenbiittel — Madame Platen 
suggests a marriage between the Crown Prince of Hanover 
and Sophia Dorothea — She corrupts the confidential mi- 
nister of the Duke of Zelle— Bemstorf dissuades the Duke 
against the proposed betrothal of his daughter — The Crown 
Prince of Hanover recalled from Engknd— Indisposed to 
become a suitor for the hand of bis cousin — His mother 
4rawn into a scheme for obtaining the consent of the Duke 


of Zelle — Her complete success— The Duke breaks off the 
negotiations with the Duke of Wolfenbuttel — Despair of the 
Duchess — Her impression of the proposed marriage of the 
Crown Prince of Hanover with her daughter — Hurried pre- 
parations for this union — Liberal arrangements of the Duke 
— Marriage of the Princess — Original letter of Sophia Do- 
rothea to the Duchess of Hanover — Proceeds with her hus- 
band to Hanover . . 73 


State marriages and their consequences — Admirable conduct 
of the Princess Sophia Dorothea during the first years of 
her union— She gives birth to a son — ^Wins the esteem of 
her father-in-law, and of his consort — Madame Platen regards 
her with jealousy and hatred — Platen ennobled — His 

^ wife's fondness for display — Her intrigues — Her tyran- 
nical conduct to her maid — Curious specimen of charity 
at court— Madame Platen's first operations against the hap- 
piness of Sophia Dorothea — The Princess gives birth to a 
daughter — Madame Platen introduces her friend Mademoi- 
selle Schulenburg to the Crown Prince — She becomes his 
mistress — The Prince neglects his wife — Madame Platen's 
artftil conduct towards the Princess — Death of M. Busch 
— Speedy marriage of his widow — Maidemoiselle Knese- 
beck, lady in waiting on the Princess, invited to the wedding 
— Observes the Crown Prince and Mademoiselle Schulen- 
burg — His improper conduct . .101 


The Kdnigsmark family — ^The two Konigsmarks — Charles 
John, the elder brother, in England — Hears of the great 
heiress, the Lady Elizabeth Percy^ — His reception at Paris 


— Aceompanies the Knights of Mnlta, and disdngoMhes him- 
self m an expedition against the Turks — His daring adventure 
at a buH-fight in l^fadrid --Philip Christopher, the younger 
County in London to oom[^ete his education — Lady Eliza- 
beth Percy married whilst a child to the Earl of Ogle — 
Becomes a widow — Charles John Konigsmark offers him- 
self as a suitor — Is njectedby her family — Goes to Tangier 
His exploits there — Returns to England on hearing of the 
marriage of the young widow to Mr. Thomas Th3mn — Tom 
of Ten Thousand — Captain Vraatz and his associates- 
Murder of Mr. Thynn — Count Charles John tried at the 
Old Bailey — 1^ brother brought forward as a witness — 
He is acquitted, and the others are hanged — His subsequent 
adventures and death — Count Philip Christopher leaves 
England — Appears at Hanover — Resumes his acquaintance 
with the Princess Sophia Dorothea— -Their mutual gratifica* 
tion in each other^s society — Attempt of Madame Platen 
to excite suspicion in the Bishop regarding the intimacy of 
the Count with his danghter-in-law — ^Its fidlure — She pre- 
tends great admiration of Konigsmark — Her scheme for 
making the Crown Prince jealous of his consort — The em- 
broidered glove . . .125 


Inedited letter from the Duchess Sophia to Charles II.— The 
Crown Prince of Hanover serves under the Prince of Orange 
— Is distinguished by Ids favour — His neglect of his con- 
sort observed by his father — Insulting conduct of the 
Platens to Sophia Dorothea — Her father prejudiced against 
her by Bemstorf— Platen raised to the dignity of Count- 
Singular proof of the Countess Platen's influence at court- 
Prince Maximilian reprimanded— The Prince enters into a 
VOL. I. h 


conspiracy— The Countess Platen's mtrigues with Konigs- 
mark — Striyes to preyail on him to leave off visiting the 
Princess — Advises the Bishop to liave the conduct of his 
daughter-in-hiw cioseij watched — Singular arrest of Count 
Molcke — Countess Platen endeavours to prevail on the 
Count to save himself bj implicating the Princess — He re- 
fuses — He b beheaded, and Prince MaTimilian banished — 
Ernest Augustus becomes Elector of Hanover — His obliga- 
tions to the Countess Platen — Unhappj state of Sophia 
Dorothea — Learns the attempt to implicate her in the trea- 
son of Count Molcke — She remonstrates with the Crown 
Prince — His brutal indifference— Singular revelation made 
to the Princess — Assault on Sophia Dorothea by her hus- 
band — ^The manner in which this is regarded by the Elector 
and his consort— The Princess goes back to Zelle — Her 
wish to remain denied by the Duke in consequence of the 
misrepresentations of Bemstorf — ^Astonishment of the Elec- 
toral family caused by the Princess driving past the Heren- 
hansen Palace on her retom • • ' • 155 


State of affairs in England — ^The people prefer a Protestant 
ruler — Arrival of William Prince of Orange — He is called 
to the throne on the abdication of James II.— The claims 
of the Electress Sophia — Sketch of the Elfictress by Lord 
Dartmouth — ^Behaviour of the Crown Prince of Hanover to 
his consort — ^Unhappy position of Sophia Dorothea — 
Awkward residts of the Countess Platen's intrigue with 
Count Kdnigsmark — ^The Count and the Princess sur- 
rounded by spies — Augustus Elector of Saxony — ^His exces- 
sive extravagance and licentionsness — Kdnigsmark at Dres- 
den—His imprudent revelations • • • • 189 



Countess Platen is told of Count Konigsmark's conduct — She 
excites the Elector against him — Her designs against the 
Princess Sophia Dorothea — The Count's return — ^The forged 
invitation — Last interview of Konigsmark and the Princess- 
Proposed flight from Hanover to Wolfenhilttel — Countess 
Platen's misrepresentations to the Elector-^He is persuaded 
into ordering the arrest of Konigsmark — ^The Countess plies 
the soldiers appointed to seize him with liquor — ^They are 
placed in ambush — Konigsmark attacked by them after quit- 
ting the apartments of Sophia Dorothea — He defends himself 
— He is killed — Inhuman conduct of the Countess Pkten — 
Anger of the Elector on discovering this catastrophe— De- 
ception practised on him — He is induced to take measures 
to prevent the Count's death becoming known — ^Ignominious 
treatment of the body of Konigsmark— Accounts of this 
murder bj Horace Walpole and Archdeacon Coxe — Obser- 
vations on the character of Count Konigsmark — ^further 
particulars of his family — His sister Aurora . 203 


Employment of Sophia' Dorothea afler Count Konigsihark's 
departure — ^His reported disappearance — Her anxiety — 
Countess Platen obtains possession of his papers — ^The use 
she makes of them — ^The Elector and the Duke of 2^11e 
excited against the Princess — Intrigues of Bemstorf — 
Platen's disgraceful conduct to Sophia Dorothea — ^Her ^rief 
on being informed by him- of the fate of Konigsmark— The 
Crown Prince of Hanover at Berlin — Is persuaded by his 
sbter to do justice to his consort — His letter intercepted — 


The Princess is directed to quit Hanorer — ^Her parting from 
her children — ]Mademoise]le Enesebeck arrested and closely 
examined — Is imprisoned in the castle of Schartifeld — Effects 
her escape — ^A reconciliation proposed to Sophia Dorothea, 
throngh the medium of Count Platen — His oifensiye be- 
haviour — She takes the Sacrament in confirmation of her 
innocence — Her father's cruelty towards her — Reconcilia- 
tion again proposed — Hesitation of the Princess — She con- 
sults Bemstorf — His crafhr conduct 227 


The Princess Sophia Dorothea is tried by a Consistorial Court 
— Its composition and duties — Its efforts to bring about 
an adjustment of the differences of the Crown Prince and 
his Consort — ^The Princess leares Hanover for Lauenan— 
Case of the Crown Prince — ^Its weakness — Declaration of 
the Princess — Failure of the attempt at reconciliation — In- 
terriew of the Officers of the Court with the Princess — 
Sentence of divorce — Letter from Sophia Dorothea to her 
solicitor — Arrangement between the Elector and the Duke 
of Zelle respecting the destination and maintenance of 
Sophia Dorothea — Anxiety of her father-in-law to retain 
her possessions — Conduct of her father — Satisfaction of 
Sophia Dorothea in being freed from her husband • 251 


The Castle of Ahlden, the place of Sophia Dorothea's impri- 
aonment— *Her attendants all bound by an oath to perform 
the office of spies — Measures taken for the prisoner's secu- 
rity—Her employments — Becomes a benefactress to the 


whole neighbonrliood— Her correspondence — The Princess 
not allowed to commanicate with her children — The Elector 
disposed in her fiirour — His death — His character — The 
Crown Prince succeeds to the Electorate— His agreements 
with the Dnke of Zelle — ^The Duke's anxiety to see her 
artfully opposed by Bemstorf— Executes a codicil in his 
will in her farour— Will of the Duchess of Zelle— Death of 
the Duke — The son and daughter of Sophia Dorothea*- 
Abortive attempt of the Prince to see his mother— S3rm- 
pathy of the Princess — Their marriages — Sophia Dorothea 
communicates with her daughter — The Elector's political 
intrigues — Hb prospects in England — Project to send over 
the Crown Prince — Letter from Queen Anne to the Elector 
in opposition to it— Effects of this communication upon the 
Electress Sophia — Curious particulars of her death by an 
eye witness . • • 273 


Death of Queen Anne— -The husband of Sophia Dorothea suc- 
ceeds to the English throne — The claims of his mistresses 
to share his good fortune — He embarks with them for Eng- 
land — IViiserable end of the Countess Platen — Her daughter 
accompanies the new King as his mistress — Mademoiselle 
Schulenburg — George the First's German favourites of both 
sexes — Their rapacity — Distinctions and wealth showered 
upon them — The King's ugly harem— The Countess of 
Darlington described by Horace Walpole and Lady Mary 
Wortley Montagu— The Duchess of Kendal — Disgust of the 
people of England at the appearance of these women at 
Court— Mob wit • . 303 



Sophia Dorothea, weary of her imprisonment, amuses herself 
by writing a Diary illastratiTe of her own story — Her son 
the Prince of Wales — A sordid passion — Her daughter the 
Queen of Prussia— -Account of her domestic misery by the 
Margravine of Bayreuth — ^Thc Duchess of Zelle endeavours 
to 'secure the settlement of her property on Sophia Dorothea 
—Death of the Duchess of Zelle— Efforts of the King of 
Prussia to obtain a knowledge of what property his Queen 
might inherit from her mother — Legal opinion of Thoma- 
sius — Communications between the Queen of Prussia and 
her mother — Memorandum from Sophia Dorothea authoriz- 
ing the Count de Bar to sell her property in the Dutch 
funds — Supposed project of escape — Her pensioners in 
Holland — Another memorandum to the Count de Bar — 
Letter of Sophia Dorothea to the Count — ^Persons employed 
by her to communicate with her daughter — ^Report on their 
negociations with the Queen — Protest of Sophia Dorothea 
in favour of Count de Bar — She refuses the Queen's pre- 
sents — Literesting letter of Sophia Dorothea — Her mis- 
placed confidence in the Count de Bar — Her last letter to 
him — Treachery of the Count . • . 323 


Misgovemment of George I.— Greneral dishonesty of his Grer- 
man dependants — His partiality for Hanover — His at- 
tempted assassination — ^The Court of St. James's — ^The 
Duchess of Kendal raised to the dignity of a Princess — Her 
affected piety — Her natural children— Countess of Darling- 
ton and her daughter — Greorgc I. extremely careful of the 


health of Sophia Dorothea^-A prophecy — Hia supendtion 
— His unpopularity — ^He quarreb with his sou — His alarm 
at hearing of the illness of his repudiated consort — Sophia 
Dorothea's appearance — Her despair produces serious ill- 
ness — Extraordinary scene — Death of Sophia Dorothea — 
Observations on the infamous tyranny to which she became 
the victim — Effect of the intelligence of his wife's death 
upon George I. — He leaves England for Hanover — Is taken 
ill on the road — His sudden and awful death — Remarks — 
The Duchess of Kendal's behaviour on learning this cata- 
strophe — The black raven — Dispersion of the old King*s 
mistresses ..... 371 


The son of Sophia Dorothea — His sympadiy in his mother's 
hard fate — Destroys the will of George the Rrst — Lord 
Chesterfield threatens legal proceedings — Receives a recom- 
pense—Will of Sophia Dorothea destroyed by her husband 
— Queen Caroline— George the Second visits EEanover — 
Bums his mother's letters — Curse supposed to be entailed 
on the Brunswick family — Fate of George the Second's heir — 
Fate of George the Second— Story of Caroline Matilda — Fa- 
mily dissensions continuing in the family of every successor 
to the throne till the death of George the Fourth — The 
crown goes out of the direct line at his decease — Disap- 
pearance of the curse— Sophia Dorothea's descendants by 
her daughter — ^Atrocious conduct of the King of Prussia to 
his family — The crown of Prussia goes out of the direct 
line at the demise of the grandson of Sophia Dorothea— 
Her existing descendants — Their interest in her story — 
Princess Elizabeth — The late Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg 
writes Memours of Sophia Dorothea . . 399 



Sophia Dorothea, Consort of George the Fu^st, (from the ori- 
ginal Picture in the Castle of Ahlden) • Frontispiece 


Philip Christopher, Count Kdnigsmark, (from the original 
Picture in the collection of the Prince of Lippe-Schaum- 
burg) .... Frontispiece 


The age of chivalry — A wronged princess an exciting subject 
at that period — Far from being uninteresting at the present 
day— ^lystery and misrepresentation — Sophia Dorothea the 
Iron Mask of the Court of Hanover — Comparison between 
Louis XIV. and George I. as despots — Ignorance in Eng- 
land respecting the consort of George I. — Duke Greorge 
William of Zelle — ^His Venetian mistress — His natural son 
— ^Anoiher tender intimacy — ^Eleonore Marquise d'Ol- 
breuse — French lessons — ^Duke George William becomes 
attached to Mademoiselle d*01breuse — His previous engage- 
ment not to marry — His brother the Bishop of Osnabruck 
— The Duke's plan for evading his engagement — Left-hand 
marriages — Mademoiselle d*01breuse disapproves of such 
union — Her objections at last overruled — Lefl-hand mar- 
riage of the Duke with Mademoiselle d'Olbreuse — Tliey 
become the parents of Sophia Dorothea — Her birth — 
Uneasiaess of the Bishop respecting this connexion. 

VOL. I. jpr B 




There was a time when the woes of a wronged 
princess appeared to canse every sword to leap from 
its scabbard, and every manly spirit to rush forth to 
a contest with her oppressors. But this was an age 
when to injure a woman was regarded as a crime 
so opposed to the natural sympathies of manhood, 
that the criminal was always represented as some 
giant, dwar^ dragon, or other monstrous creature, 
to whopi only could be attributed so brutal an 
insensibility to female influence, and so savage an 
indisposedness to humane impulses, as might lead 
to such an atrocity. 

A woman in the power of such monsters, and 
suffering from their cruelty, was a theme suffi* 

B 2 


ciently exciting to stir the valour of the most 
sluggish of brave men ; but when, as was not un- 
usually the case, the sufferer bore the imposing 
title of princess, the respect which high birth in- 
variably created, gave a still stronger impulse in 
favour of the oppressed, and excited the sponta- 
neous champions to attempt the most perilous 
deeds to effect her rescue. 

We are told that the age of chivalry is passed, 
but we are willing to believe that more of its true 
spirit exists than the world has the credit for 
possessing. It is true that the gentleman of the 
present day does not imitate his prototype of the 
middle ages, in that entire devotedness to the sex 
then in fashion. If he were to hear of the worst case 
of injustice ever perpetrated against a woman, it is 
not very likely that he would hasten to put himself 
in a position to do his devoir in her behalf leap 
on his charger, or even engage a special train to 
carry him, without loss of time, to her place of 
durance ; nevertheless, he is not without feelings 
of indignation and sympathy on the subject. 
Great changes have been effected in external cir- 
cumstances, but manhood has still the same high 
prerogatives and honourable duties. Beauty in 



distress and injured innocence find as ready cham- 
pions as of old ; and the man who ill-treats a woman 
the public voice still stigmatizes as '^ a monster f 

The cause, therefore, of a wronged princess is 
not so completely out of fashion, as to render her 
advocate hopeless of obtaining an audience, even 
were there not in its features so many peculiar 
claims on public attention. Perhaps the name of 
Sophia Dorothea will awaken at first among 
the great body of readers no feeling more powerful 
than that of curiosity to know something of an 
historical name that has hitherto been kept under 
an impenetrable cloud of mystery and misrepre- 
sentation. That illustrious lady has been ** the 
Iron Mask** of the Court of Hanover ; a state pri- 
soner who had committed no crime, yet was forced 
to endure a punishment rarely awarded to the 
worst of criminals. 

Of the two despots, Louis XIV. and George L, 
the German wa3 the worsts for the victim of 
French tyranny belonged at least to his own sex ; 
the other was a wife and a mother, whose warm 
affections bad thawed the icy heart of her op- 
pressor^ Nor could her claims have interfered 
in any political object, nor in fact in anything of 
greater, importance than the absolute indulgence 


of those vile passions which disgraced her hus- 
band's youth and made his old age contemptible. 

It is little more than a hundred years since the 
extraordinary events, with which the reader is 
now about to be made acquainted, occurred ; yet 
such was the care with which everything connected 
with the fate of the wife of the first of our Hano- 
verian sovereigns was concealed from the inquiry 
of his new subjects, and of the next generation, 
that scarcely a glimpse of the truth reached them. 
This ignorance of circumstances which may be con- 
sidered of national interest has been prolonged to 
the present time, and, in all probability, would 
long have continued, had not the writer obtained 
access to the materials of the work now before 
the reader. 

Among the sons of George Duke of Brunswick 
Liineburg, the most distinguished was George 
. William, who stood next in succession to his bro- 
ther, Christian Lewis, in the Dukedom of Zelle. 
He had travelled in Italy, which had given a certain 
degree of polish to his manners, that appears to 
have been much required at this period by many 
of the minor German princes. . At Venice he 
became intimate with a lady of that city, by whom 


he had a son. Duke George William behaved 
generously to her ; but Venetian ladies, when they 
happen to have a prince for a lover, are seldom 
disinclined to make the most of him, and Madame 
Buccolini was not an exception to the general 
practice of her fair and frail countrywomen. She 
at last became so exacting, that her protector, 
taking the charge of the boy's education upon 
himself made a final arrangement with the mo- 
ther, and would have nothing farther to say to 
her. The young Lucas Buccolini was taken to 
Germany, his name docked of its last two syllables 
to make it less foreign; he was educated with 
the sons of noblemen, and grew up with the belief 
that his father had very splendid views for him.* 

* On attaining the age of manhood he filled the office of 
Master of the Horse at the Court of Zelle, haxing entered the 
Dnke's service, in which he attained the colonelcy of a regi- 
ment of dragoons. He suhseqnentlj became a Catholic, mar- 
ried the daughter of the Master of the ^tchen, by whom 
he had several children, and went to Bohemia, where he died 
in the year 1727. A MS. authority states that one of his 
descendants put forth some claims for a pension, which oc- 
canoned his imprisonment in the tower of Dannenburg, where 
he was served in silver, but not permitted to speak to any 
one. In this prison he died. 


But "George William, when he returned to his 
native country, formed another connexion, whicli, 
no doubt, materially affected the interests of the 
youug Venetian. A nobleman of an ancient 
family in Poitou, — one of the many French 
Protestants persecuted under the government of 
Louis XIV., — was sent into banishment, and his 
proj)erty was confiscated. He sought an asylum 
in Holland, taking with him his only child, a 
daughter, whose youthful beauty was not long 
without attracting admirers, whilst her superior 
accomplishments, which far exceeded the very 
limited attainments of the ladies with whom she 
now associated, raised her to an eminence in their 
estimation that made rivalry hopeless. She be- 
came a protegee of a Duchess de Tarento, then 
staying at Breda,* who introduced her to the heir 

* This Dutch city was an extremely gay place in the 17th 
century. During his exile Charles II. resided here some time, 
with many of the most celebrated cavaliers. It is also cele- 
brated as the seat of the Congress that concluded peace be- 
tw'een England and Holland in 1 6 6 7 . William Prince of Orange 
erected a castle for its defence. From an inedited letter of 
Elizabeth Queen of Bohemia, to her nephew Charles II., while 
describing a masque at the Hague, in which many ladies of dis- 
tinction performed, we learn that, ** Your sister was Tche weli 


presumptive of the Duchy of Zelle, whose as- 
-siduous gallantry kept at a distance less distin- 
guished adorers. 

The beauty and virtues of Eleanore d'Olbreuse 
soon created in his heart an afiection of the most 
ardent character. He sought occasions for being 
continually in her society ; he affected extraordi- 
nary zeal in studying French, and prevailed on 

dressed like an Amazooe, the Duchess Torente like a shep- 
heardessy Madamoiselle d*Orenge a nimph: they were ail 
Terie well dressed. Mrs. nare was a suiser's wife ; but I 
wish*d all the night your ^lajestie had seen Yanderdous ; 
there never was seene the like — he was a gipsie ; Nan Hide 
was his wife. He had pantaloons close to him of red and yel- 
I0W9 striped with sniffled sleaves ; he looked just like Jock a 
lent : they were twenty-six in all, and came till fiye o'clock in 
the morning. We had a great feast at P. Williams' child 
christening ; it was at super, and there we had dancing ; also 
as upon Friday last at the Princess of Tarente." Lambeth 
MSS. Another notice of this lady is found in an inedited letter 
from Mary, the Consort of William Prince of Orange, written 
about the same period, to her brother Charles II. ** 1 goe to 
the Queen of Bohemia's after supper where we play tittle plays ; 
the Duchesse of Tarente and Madamoiselle de la Tremoiulle 
is there, and in earnest, 'tis no ill diyertisement to see the pas- 
sages between them and their gallants, for they do not, in my 
opinion, at all stryve to hy de their inclinations." Lambeth MSS. 


the beautiful young Marquise to become his in- 
structress. What progress he made in the lan- 
guage cannot be learned with any degree of cer- 
tainty, but of the rapid advance of his passion 
there can be no doubt. He grew daily more ena- 
moured, and at last was so devoted to the fair 
French woman, that he became satisfied he could 
not live without her. 

With such a person as Madame Buccolini a 
satisfactory arrangement under such circumstances 
would have met with no diflSculty whatever, but with 
the daughter of Alexander Marquis d'Olbreuse such 
a proceeding was infinitely less practicable. She 
was as virtuous as she was lovely, and, though her 
princely admirer had reason to believe he was not 
indifferent to her, he was perfectly convinced she 
would not be brought to enter into an improper 
connexion with him by any inducement or con- 
sideration. Her noble name was one great ob- 
stacle to such a degradation, and his superior rank 
appeared one equally insurmountable to his form- 
ing a more honourable alliance with her. This, 
however, it is believed, he would have overleaped, 
so devotedly attached was he, had there not been 
in existence a legal instrument, by which he had 
bound himself not to contract such a marriage. 


His younger brother, Ernest Augustus, Bishop 
of Osnabriick,* (a title familiar to our readers as 
having been borne by the late Duke of York,) 
had previously induced him, — to render his suc- 
cession as secure as possible, — to promise never 
to enter into a matrimonial alliance with a lady 
of corresponding rank. 

The Bishop appears to have been a distinguished 
member of the Church militant, for he more than 
once performed important military services to his 
superior, the Emperor of Austria ; and his valour 
was not less conspicuous than his ambition, for he 
very early in his career began to nourish dreams 
of political greatness, in which his real inheritance 
formed but an insignificant portion. The great 

* Osnabriick is a very ancient see,— -founded, it has been 
said, by Charlemagne. As dnring the labours of Luther and 
his followers, a vast number of the inhabitants embraced the 
Reformed Faith, at the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, which 
was concluded in this episcopal city, it was arranged that the 
Bishop should be alternately a Lutheran and a Romanist^ 
the selection of their prelate being left with the Chapter, re- 
stricted, howeyer, to the family of Brunswick LUneburg. This 
very curious arrangement of course procured them bbhops, 
whether Popish or Protestant, the least likely to do credit to 
the mitre. 



impulse to these visions was given by his marriage 
with Sophia, daughter of the Queen of Bohemia, 
and grand-daughter of James I. King of England. 
This alliance opened to him a prospect — distant, 
it is true, — but suflSciently near to the British 
throne, to encourage his ambitious tendencies, and 
he employed all his resources to turn it to the 
most advantage. 

In the endeavours he made to extend his in- 
fluence, he created what was considered a bril- 
liant court, at an expense for which his revenues 
were shortly found inadequate. He established 
communications, by which he received early intel- 
ligence of everything that transpired in those 
quarters where his attention was most strongly 
directed. In this way he learned how his brother 
George was amusing himself with a pretty French 
woman at Breda ; but this news excited no ap- 
prehension. Marriage was out of the question, 
even had he not the security of a solemn promise ; 
so he contented himself with indulging occa- 
sionally, to bis consort and to his confidential 
attendants, in facetious observations respecting his 
brother s studies with his accomplished madame. 

Although Duke George William seemed shut 


out from the possession of the ladj to whom he 
had surrendered his heart, by the two modes of 
obtaining the objects of their affections open to 
ducal lovers, he in a happy hour remembered that 
there was a third to which the objections the 
young Marquise d'Olbreuse might very properly 
entertain to the position of a mistress, and the 
obstacles that lay in the way of his making her 
his duchess, did not apply. This was a species 
of marriage which would satisfy the lady's scruples 
by having the sanction of the church, yet would 
not interfere with the preftidices of the gentleman, 
for it would not possess the authority of the law : 
at least not in the sense understood in this coun- 
try. It is well known throughout Germany by 
the name of a morganatic, or hftrhandcd marriage/^ 

* On this subject the Conversations Lexikon gives the fol- 
lowing explanation. " Morganatic marriage, (mafrimonium 
ad morganatieam, matrinumium ad legem Salicam) derived 
froii; the Grothic word morgjan, to abridge, to limit \ likewise 
called left-handed marriage, is that kind of marriage in which 
it is stipulated by the marriage contract, that the wife of 
lower condition, and her children, shall be excluded from the 
prerogatives of the rank, and from the succession of the hus- 
band and father. According to the Prussian civil law, it is 
allowed to nobles and royal councillors ; bv the common law 


and had often been bad recourse to bj its mag- 
nates, and by no family more frequently than by 
that of which Duke George William was a 

As early as the 12th century we find Duke 
Henry the Lion forming such a connexion, and, 
with occasional omissions, the precedent was trans- 
mitted from father to son, as though it were a 
prerogative belonging to the title of the lords of 

It is evident that these German princes were 
a most ingenious race, — ^nor is it less apparent that 
the ladies of the different states they governed 
were easily satisfied. No doubt they thought, to be 
united to a royal lover by a left handed marriage, 
better than having no hand in any marriage at 
all. It is said that princes seldom sue in vain, 
and when they have the decency to get the sanc- 
tion of the church to their suits, we of course can 
have nothing to say against them. Nevertheless, 

to the high nobility only.** The late King of Prussia avafled 
himself of this convenient institution, and took a second wife 
of this peculiar species, to whom he had been miited sixteen 
years at the time of his decease. She was a Comitess Har- 
rach, and was created by him Countess of HohenxoUem, and 
Princess of Liegnitz. 


there appears to our matter-of-fact English sense, 
to be a sort of legeiMie^nain in this morganatic 
matrimony, which leaves such an impression of 
awkwardness on right-thinking minds as usually 
results from all left-handed affairs. 

But whatever we may think of it, Duke George 
William recurred to this favourable arrangement 
for amatory princes, with extraordinary satisfac- 
tion, and lost no time in making known to his 
fascinating mistress his intention of having re- 
course to it, in her behalf. But, to the extreme 
astonishment of his Serene Highness, the fair 
Eleonore seemed quite indifferent to the honour 
designed her. The Duke probably forgot that 
she was not a countrywoman, and although mar- 
riages with either hand were often dispensed with 
by the ladies highest in favour at the court of 
Louis XIV., the daughter of the Marquis d'Ol- 
breuse was of a class superior to the favourites 
of that magnificent sovereign. 

The beautiful Eleonore did not approve of a 
morganatic marriage ; she could not be brought 
to understand the singular convenience of such a 
contract. She withstood all solicitations, she de- 
clined the very handsome settlements her lo\er 


proposed to attach to the ambigaoas union; in 
short, it was apparent that she held in very little 
esteem the matrimonial usages of German Po- 

Duke George William was amazed ; such an 
instance of indifference to the wishes of the Lords 
of Brunswick was not to be found in the archives. 
He could not account for it. He was almost in de- 
spair, and no doubt wished that the beautiful crea- 
ture to whom he was so fondly attached, had been 
bom in a German duchy. The French lessons were 
interrupted, that he might exhibit, with sufficient 
effect, the numerous precedents for this species of 
wedlock, furnished by his own family annals.* 
But his highness was quite disconcerted by the 
want of respect shown by the young lady to the 
example of so many of his exalted relations. She 
evidently thought but little of the ties that con- 
nected his. ancestor, Duke Henry the younger, with 

* We have before os the result of the researches of a dis- 
tinguished German scholar into these unions of the Bruns- 
wick family. He begins with Henry the Lion, one of the 
heroes of the 12th century, and concludes with the late Duke 
of Sussex, whose alliance with Lady Augusta Murray he 
regards as a morganatic marriage. The list of members of thia 


the adyenturous Eva von Trott,* and not much 
more of those by which his uncle Duke Christian 
was joined to the equally honoured Ursula von 
der Ohcf 

From the daughter he appealed to the father, 
who was not an uninterested spectator of his 
passion. The Marquis was duly impressed Mrith 
his Highnesses very liberal intentions, but, being a 

family who entered into such engagements, comprises thirty- 
two sovereign princes. 

* Eva was the daughter of a captain of the guards, and 
was appointed a lady in waiting on the Duchess. She usually 
contrived to conceal her pr^pmncy hy retiring into the country 
before suspicions were excited ; hut she seems to have heen 
found out at last, for she was dismissed from court in the year 
1531. Some scandal arising, she made use of a singular plan 
for putting an end to it. It was reported, that she died when 
on a journey to join her father, in proof of which, a wax figure 
resembling her was publicly exposed as her corpse on a high 
scaffold, a funeral solemnised, and masses said for her soul. In 
the mem time she proceeded secretly to Stauffenburg, where 
she was visited by the Duke till the year 1541 ; her secret how- 
ever transpired, and she fled from place to pkce, and is said 
to have died at Halberstadt. She had nine children by the Duke. 

t Ursula was married in the year 1629, to Greorge vonJssel- 
brook, member of the Privy Council, and of the court of justice 
at Zelle. 

VOL. I. C 


conscieutioas man as well as a Frenchman, he 
could only afford the Duke his best wishes, as he 
was disinclined to attempt any interference with 
his daughter's inclinations. 

The young lady, however, could not help per- 
ceiving that her father was suffering all that an 
impoverished exile in a strange land could endure ; 
and she was perfectly well aware that, by fulfilling 
the Duke's wishes, she should secure for the Mar- 
quis a comfortable provision for life. How much 
was due to her father s necessities, how much to 
the persuasions of the Duchess de Tarento, a lady 
celebrated for her gallantries and completely in 
the Duke's interest, and how much to her lover's 
importunities, for the wavering of her virtuous 
resolutions, must remain a mystery. Certain it is, 
Duke George William one day received the gra- 
tifying information from the lips of the long obdu- 
rate Eleonore, that she acceded to his request for 
a left-hilnded marriage. 

On the twenty-sixth birth-day of Eleonore 
d'Olbreuse, the Duchess of Tarento gave a brilliant 
entertainment in her honour : among other costly 
gifts, she presented her young friend with a me- 
dallion of her lover, and did everything she could 


to show that she approved of her entering into 
the proposed alliance. The Duke was the princi- 
pal feature in the day's festivities, in the course of 
which he placed in the hands of his ^ancee a muni- 
ficent mark of his regard in the shape of a costly 
dressing-case, and implored so fervently, and pro- 
mised so liberally, that her virtuous resolutions 
gave way altogether. 

It was at this critical moment that he received 
intelligence of the death of his elder brother, the 
reigning Duke of Zelle, and the unjustifiable 
seizure of the government by a younger brother, 
Duke John: Frederic, who had taken advantage of 
the absence of the legitimate successor. . Thia 
made it necessary that he should depart immediately 
from Holland to look after his claims in Bruns- 
wick ; but, before he quitted: his mistress, he placed 
a paper in her hand, in which she found that he 
had settled on .her, in case of his death, the whole 
of his private fortune, with the^exception of a few 
legacies only. 

The ceremony of a morganatic marriage was 
gone through in September 1665 ; and, after the 
Duke had settled his dispute with his younger 
brother, which he was at last enabled to do 

c 2 


satisfactorily by the mediation of Bishop Er- 
nest Augustus, he took up his abode with the 
Marquise at the seat of government.* She now 
bore the name of Von Harburg, which had be- 
longed to one of his ancestors, but at her lover's 
suggestion, she was afterwards allowed by the 
emperor to assume a respectable position among 
the German nobility. 

The life of Duke George William passed so 
happily in the society of his Morganatic bride, 
and her fascinations and superior intelligence were 
so manifest, that he seemed every day to be- 
come more enamoured. He was at a loss how to 
show the grateful sense he entertained of the hap- 
piness she had procured him, till, in the following 
year an opportunity presented itself of which he 
availed himself with a degree of liberality, that 
took every one by surprise. 

This was the birth of a child ; a most welcome 

* Zelle, the capital of the duchy, possessed a palace aud 
several other handsome buildings, and appears to have been 
singularly connected with the history of unfortunate princesses, 
for as well as having been the birth-place of Sophia Dorothea, 
it was the residence, from the year 1772, till her death in 
1775, of the hapless Caroline Matilda, Queen of Denmark. 


event to all parties except the politic Bishop of 
O^iabriick and those who shared his sentiments. 
This child, who was bom on the 15 th of Septem- 
ber, 1666, proved to be a daughter, and was 
christened with much ceremony, by the name of 
Sophia Dorothea. The Duke was delighted at 
this event, and evinced his satisfaction by the 
most liberal arrangements for mother and child ; 
and as time passed on, and they gained more and 
more upon his affections, his chief thought seemed 
to be for their aggrandisement. 

These dispositions in &vour of such connections, 
were regarded by the Bishop and his little court 
at Osnabriick with open ridicule yet concealed 
disquietude. Ernest Augustus, though he held 
the security of his brother s promise not to enter 
into a legal marriage, and reposed implicit confi- 
dence in it, liked not the diversion of the Duke's 
private property from what he thought its proper 
direction, — ^that is, its inheritance by himself. Re- 
ports had reached him of the Duke's boundless 
generosity to his fair favourite, that gave him no 
slight uneasiness; of course being deeply interested 
in the disposal of his brother's property, he looked 
with a jaundiced eye upon Madame von Harburg 


and her little daughter, but apparently he vms 
friendly, and did nothing to betray to the Duke 
the extent of his prejudices. 

Bishop Ernest liked this generosity the less, 
because, from the magnificent style in which 
he delighted to live, he had drawn much too fre- 
quently on his own resources, and he could not 
disguise from himself the conviction that this 
excessive liberality of his brother to his consort 
and her child would have been very welcome 
had he been the recipient Duke George William, 
however, was not unaware of his brother^s exhausted 
exchequer, and found means, by offering what is 
now understood by a consideration^ to be left un- 
shackled in the exercise of his affectionate inten- 
tions for the two beings whom he loved best 
in the world. 


The Diike of Zelle's liberal intentions respecting Madame von 
Harburg and her child — His first settlement in their 
favour — Admirable conduct of the mother of Sophia Doro- 
thea—The Duke shows his sense of it by more handsome 
settlements — She bears the title of Coimtess of Wilhelms- 
burg — Reports respecting these transactions — Anthony 
Ulrich Duke of Wolfenbuttel — His friendship for the 
Countess — Sophia Dorothea — Her early intimacy with 
Count Konigsmark — Legal marriage of the Duke of Zelle 
with the Countess of Wilhelmsburg — ^Arrangements for 
sanctioning this union entered into by the Duke and his 
brother the Bishop— The Assembly of the Estates sanction 
the marriage —Sophia Dorothea elevated to the rank of 



Although bis excellent Eleonore within the 
next few jears brought the Duke of Zelle 
three more daughters, thej were but short-lived, 
and Sophia Dorothea, at a very interesting age of 
childhood, was left without a riyal in the affections 
of her delighted father. Her mother's admirable 
conduct continued to strengthen the Duke's 
attachment, and, knowing how completely she was 
shut out of the succession to any portion of his 
dominions, he began to purchase land, for the 
purpose of having at his disposal a property which "* 
he could bequeath to whom he pleased. With 
this object in view, on the 6th of May 1671, he 
procured five domains, respecting which he entered 
into an agreement with the Bishop of Osnabriick 
on the 1st of September of the same year, — that as 


these were liis own purchases, the following condi- 
tions should be allowed : — 

Bishop Ernest Augustus insures to Duke 
George William the sum of 20,000 thalers,* as 
well as the sum of 35,000 thalers, lent by the 
Duke of Wolfenbiittel, on the domain of Fal- 

Duke George William is authorised to bequeath 
the domains Dannenberg and Hitzacker to whom 
he pleases. 

Several conditions then follow respecting the 
amount of taxes to be levied, the feudal services 
which the proprietor will have to render to his supe- 
rior, and other matters of no interest to the reader. 

To insure the possession of this grant, Duke 
George William is within three months to pay 
40,000 thalers to Bishop Ernest Augustus, and 
the fiiture inheritors are to pay the latter 116,180 
thalers, in ready money, or allow, in lieu of this, 
their claims concerning Fallersleben. 

It is evident by this arrangement that the suf- 
frages of the worthy prelate were to be had for a 
good round sum, for which sum he gave a receipt 
dated 16th October of this year. 
* The German thaler is equivalent to three shillings Eng^h. 


In the settlement of which we have just given 
an abstract, the disposition of the Duke's property 
does not transpire, but this was the subject of a 
second document, bearing the same date as the 
preceding, and possessing these stipulations. 

I. — Duke George William bequeaths the Dan- 
nenberg and Hitzacker domains to Madame von 
Harburg in the manner following. 

II. — Both domains with their towns, — with the 
permission of Bishop Ernest Augustus, — are to 
be left to Madame von Harburg, and her heirs, 
as their undoubted property, and to be possessed 
by them as such, 

II. — In accordance with which grant, the ser- 
vants, during the existence of Duke George Wil- 
liam, are to promise to act. 

III. — But during the life of the lady, she is to 
have only one-fourth of the revenues, the rest 
going to the children. 

IV. — In >lefault of issue the whole to revert to 
the sovereign. 

V. — During the minority of Sophia Dorothea 
the mother is to have the guardianship and admi- 
nistration of the domains. 

VI. — Should the latter, however, outlive her 


offspring, she is to enjoy, as long as she remains 
a widow, whatever the property produces, to the 
last day of her life. 

VII. — Should she die childless, or survive her 
offspring, the estates at her death to revert to the 

VIII. — Consequently neither herself nor any 
of her children can mortgage or dispose of any 
part of the property. 

IX. — As regards the capital invested in the 
Neustadt, Konigslutter, Neuhaus, and other do- 
mains, the plate, furniture, &c., as well as the 
house and property, shall be divided, the mother 
having one portion and the children three. 

X. — Madame von Harburg may dispose at 
pleasure of her portion of the personal effects, but 
the children, except in a case of great necessity, 
are not to alienate anything, and finally to leave 
everything to the sovereign. 

XI. — Duke George William reserves to him- 
self the power of adding, diminishing, or revoking 
this grant. 

In these arrangements the Duke's forethought 
is not less conspicuous than hia generosity, for he 



must bave been well aware tbat, should any ac- 
cident happen to him, without his having made 
a provision for his devoted Eleonore, she was not 
likely to receive much attention at the bands of 
bis relatives. 

Her duty as a mother was as admirably per- 
formed as her obligations as a wife. It was impos- 
sible to exceed the extreme solicitude she dis- 
played to do everytiiing required of her, in the 
most perfect manner. This was not lost upon 
the Duke, who, becoming more deeply interested 
in the future prosperity of his affectionate partner, 
became dissatisfied vrith the arrangements he had 
already made in her favour, as the title to the 
property could not be secured in the manner he 
desired ; and in the following year he made others 
more advantageous to her, which he intended as 
preliminary to raising her to higher rank. At this 
time, probably for the benefit of her health, he 
veas staying with her at Pyrmont,* where the 
documentary evidence of this new settlement is 
dated on the 14th July, 1672. 

* At that time a fuhionable watering-place. Its -springs 
still enjoy their celebrity, though less resorted to than other 
Grennan spas in higher favour with the crowds of idlers ^o 
freqnent them. 


Bj this it appears that Duke George William 
resolved to purchase from the Von Grote fer 
mily, the Stillhom estate with its appurtenances, 
together with the Reiherstieg and Schlossgrove, 
to be at his free disposal, to bestow, in lieu of the 
Dannenberg and Hitzacker domains, on whom- 
soever he pleased, with the consent of Bishop 
Ernest Augustus, and with similar stipulations 
to those mentioned in a former page. By this ar- 
rangement he was to receive the sum of 245,000 
thalers for the property, and 35,000 thalers for 
the exemption from taxes. The Von Grote 
family were also very handsomely recompensed. 
Another estate was provided for them. The 
privy counsellor of the chamber. Otto von Grote, 
and his brothers had 43,000 thalers, to be derived 
from the revenues for ten years of the Knesebeck 
domain, and a further sum of 13,740 thalers, with 
the right of fishing in the river Seeve. The Duke 
gave to thel counsellor of the treasiii^, Anthony 
von Grote, and his brothers, 53,000 thalers, se- 
cured by a mortgage on the estate, producing 
annually 2,900 thalers, — or this sum to be paid 
from the treasury ; and to the sons of Thomas von 
Grote, a dignitary of the cathedral, a claim on the 
treasury for 22,000 thalers. 


Every arrangement was made to legalise this 
transfer, and the purchase completed on the 4th 
of December of the same year, — ^a deduction, 
however, of 18,000 thalers was made from the 
amount promised to the Bishop, on account of the 
increase the Duke had obtained by his excellent 
management, of the revenues of the domains he 
liad previously settled upon his lady, who was 
now distinguished by the title of the Lady Eleo- 
nore von Harburg, Countess of Wilhelmsburg. 

Still that politic prelate had no reason to be 
dissatisfied with the profit he was making by his 
brother's liberality to his madame ; and showed 
not the slightest disinclination to put his signature 
to documents that secured her a handsome pro- 
vision, as long as he found his own interests thus 
carefiilly attended to. His accessibility to such 
arguments was in a short time to be put to the test 
in a way that he had probably never s^ticipated. 

The island of Wilhelmsburg, which, with all its 
honours, rights, and privileges, had thus been 
made the property of the grateful Eleonore, and 
at her decease was to become the inheritance of 
her daughter, Sophia Dorothea, was situated in 
the Elbe, nearly opposite to Hamburg, and having 


been made exempt from taxes was a very valuable 
property. The only drawback to the many ad- 
vantages it possessed was its deficiency in fuel, 
there being scarcely any timber, turf, or coal, to 
be found on the island. There was also but a 
moderate supply of game, consisting of a few 
hares, and partridges, and wild fowl ; but Wil- 
helmsburg was one of the most fertile possessions 
in the Brunswick-Liineburg dominions ; it afforded 
capital fishiog in various branches of the Elbe, 
and everything that might be required which the 
island did not produce could be readily imported 
from the main-land, or quickly obtained in any 
quantity from Hamburg; whilst its produce found 
an excellent market from its vicinity to such an 
important commercial city. 

A property of this consequence, exalting the 
possessor to high rank and considerable influence, 
was not transferred without exciting many re- 
marks, not only in the court of his Serene High- 
ness the Bishop, but in those of neighbouring 
princes. The Duke of Wolfenbiittel,* who was a 

* Towards the close of the 16th century, the family became 
divided into two distinct branches, — one, Brunswick-LQne* 
burg, the representatives of which subsequently became Electors 


cousin of Duke George William of Zelle, and 
was interested, as a near kinsman, in whatever 
related to the family, was particularly intimate 
with the Duke, who regarded his many amiable 
qualities with sincere esteem. In his frequent 
visits to Zelle, he had abundant opportunities of 
forming an acquaintance with the young Coun- 
tess of Wilhelmsburg, which quickly ripened into 
a lasting and honourable friendship. The Duke 
of Wolfenbiittel could not observe without admi- 
ration the praiseworthy conduct of his cousin's 
morganatic consort He saw that her virtues 
were worthy of gracing the highest station, and 
there is little doubt that his favourable opinion, — 
which he took every opportunity to express to her 
lord, added to the Duke's appreciation of her great 
worth, — induced the latter to consider how he 
could raise her to the highest dignity it was iu his 
power to confer. 

At present, although his daughter Sophia Doro- 
thea would inherit a large fortune, and might in 
consequence, in due time, be well and even nobly 
married, the equivocal position of her mother, shut 

and kings of Hanover, — the other, Brunswick Wolfenbiittel, the 
head of which has since been the reigning Duke of Brunswick. 
VOL. I. D 


out from her all prospect of her forming a princely 
alliance on a footing of equality. She was but a 
child, but matrimonial connexions were often de« 
termined by prudent parents— as they considered 
themselves — at an age quite as early as that at 
which she had arrived. 

At this period there were several aspirants for 
her hand, among the scions of the minor nobility, 
and of those to whom this honour was most con- 
fidently attributed, the chief was the youthful 
and handsome Count Konigsmark, eldest son 
of the wealthy General Count .Kbnigsmark, 
who was receiving his education at Zelle.* He 
was about sixteen years of age, and, Jiaving fre- 
quently been allowed to associate with the daughter 
of the Countess of Wilhelmsburg, and possessing 
too the prospect of a noble inheritance, the alii- 

* Count Eonigsmark was not a native either of Zelle or 
Hanover, but of Sweden, having been bom at Nyborg, in the 
island of Funen. He wis a member of a distinguished fiunilj. 
His &ther, Conrad Christopher, held the office of Minister- 
Greneral of the Artillery, in the service of Sweden ; and his 
uncle, Otho William, was a marshal in the service of Louis 
XIV., subsequently distinguished himself in the war of 1672, 
and became one of the most celebrated military adventurers 
of that period. 


ance was thought by all the sagacious matchmakers 
in Zelle, as a desirable one for both parties. 

Notwithstanding the personal beauty for which 
even in his early youth the young Count Konigs- 
mark was celebrated, it is not very likely that it 
made any decided impression on the heart of a 
child scarcely seven years old : nor is it probable 
that such a youth could have felt any particular in- 
terest for a little girl of that age, supposing even 
jshe was then unusually interesting. Nevertheless, 
the childish acquaintance — ^most probably com- 
menced by the young people having been partners 
at a juvenile ball — led in their maturer years to 
consequences more disastrous to the fortunes of 
both than it is possible to conceive. 

If the court-gossips had settled in their own 
sagacious way, that the intimacy which existed 
between these children was to end in a marriage, 
one person at least, of the court, was of a different 
opinion, and, as the dissentient chanced to be the 
sovereign, their sagacity was soon proved to be- at 
fault. The frequent despatches between the two 
illustrious brothers, the constant communications 
and consultations of their confidential counsellors, 
and the stir that existed amongst their subordinates 

D 2 


in the preparation of what there could be no donbt 
were legal documents, prepared the public mind, 
or rather prepared the mind of these two little 
German publics, for some extraordinary transaction 
attended with very important consequences ; and 
when, in the year 1675, the transaction was made 
known, it was acknowledged to be one of the very 
greatest importance. It was no other than the 
arrangement of a legitimate marriage, sanctioned 
both by the laws and by the church, between the 
Lady Eleonore von Harburg, Countess of Wil- 
helmsburg, and his Serene Highness George Wil- 
liam Duke of Zelle. 

Although this union was in opposition to the 
promise given to the Bishop, that amiable prelate 
was induced to proffer his consent to it when he 
found his interests had been so careftdly looked 
after, as they appear to be in the conditions of the 
following treaty entered into on this ocqasion^ 
between him and his brotlier. 

** 1. The Bishop promises not to oppose the 
said marriage, but will acknowledge and counte- 
nance the said Countess, and the children that 
may be born of this marriage; and also the daughter 
now living, Sophia Dorothea, agreeing to uphold 


her in the possession of her estates, and in her 
state and rank conferred upon her, and which may 
be conferred upon her, by the Emperor, and his 
Serene Highness Duke George William, in so far 
as such may not be to the prejudice of the heirs 
of the Bishop, as regards the sovereignty of this 
Duchy and its appurtenances. 

** 2. The heirs of the Bishop are bound to 
respect the Duke's settlement on the Countess 
and her heirs. 

** 3. The Duke promises that this marriage 
shall not be to the disadvantage of the Bishop or 
his male heirs, on the Duke's death ; and his claim 
of succession as secured by the Duke's written 
and verbal promises, and the sanction of the 
Emperor, is confirmed. 

" 4. Should one or more children be bom in 
this marriage, they are to remain satisfied with 
the property the Duke, with the consent of the 
Bishop^ may leave them at his decease and re- 
nounce any pretension to the Duchy and its ap- 
purtenances, as long as male heirs exist in the 
Bishop's family. 

'' 5. Neither sons nor daughters bom ui this 
marriage can be permitted to make use of the 


Ducal coat of arms ; but^ should Sophia Dorothea 
marry a prince of ancient family, she will be 
allowed to use the title and coat of arms of a 
princess by birth of Brunswick-Liineburg. 

" 6. The oath of allegiance of the inhabitants 
of the Duchy of LUneburg and its appurtenances, 
as also that of the civil and military authorities, 
are to undergo alteration, and the deputies of the 
country are not to be bound by their oath of al- 
legiance, as far as regards the posterity of Duke 
George William, respecting which they will be 
informed by him. 

** 7. The Duke renounces in the strongest 
manner all advantages likely to accrue to him- 
self and his children ; and if the pretensions of 
the Bishop and his heirs to the Duchy be called 
by them in question in any way, such are declared 
to be contrary to the intention of this agreement. 

'* 8. In Airther confirmation, and to avoid diffi- 
culties, the Duke and the Bishop will implore the 
Emperor to ratify this contract of marriage, and 
to append to it the necessary clauses, particularly 
that his Imperial Majesty and all his posterity do 
not allow anything to be done against it, that it 
be enrolled in the imperial courts, and that any 


one acting in opposition to it incnr a penalty of 
a thousand marks. 

** 9. On obtaining the imperial sanction, the 
Duke will alter in council the feudal oaths of 
allegiance, to the manner in which they are to be 
henceforth administered. 

** 10. All privy counsellors, and servants of the 
government and its domains, all generals, colonels, 
captains, and commanders, are to ratify this change 
under their hands and seals. As regards the mi- 
litary, the Duke furthermore promises that, after 
they have entered their quarters, and when they 
have been mustered, which will quickly follow, 
they shall take the oath in the altered form. 

** 11. Before this marriage is consummated, the 
Duke will summon before him the deputies of the 
country, in the customary manner, and acquaint 
them with this arrangement, and obtain from 
them an oath to respect the claims of the Bishop 
and his descendants ; two copies of their agree- 
ment to this is to be made, one for the Duke and 
the other for the Bishop. 

" 12. Should the lady be furthiar blessed with 
ofi&pring, the Duke agrees to publish to all his 
subjects, that, after his death the succession must 



rest with the Bishop, and descend from him, from 
father to son, according to an arrangement made 
when the Duke first entered upon the govern- 
menty as his own of&pring will be otherwise pro- 
vided for at his decease." 

In the foregoing stipulation, a great deal is 
stated respecting the Duke's anxious desire for 
the peace and welfare of his people having led 
him to enter into this arrangement, and his hope 
that after his decease they will be faithful and 
obedient to the successor whom he has appointed 

*" 13. The Duke will settle with the Bishop the 
feudal rights and usages, and have the nobility and 
magistrates personally informed of this succes- 
sion, and forward information to the towns and 

** Lastly, the Duke will write to his brother 
Duke John Frederick, and to his cousin Duke 
Rodolph Augustus, the necessary information for 
the benefit of their princely family, with a request 
that, for the preservation of peace and the good of 
the country, this agreement may be respected." 

After binding their heirs and successors to this 
instrument, the two illustrious brothers added 


their signatures ; and it is dated at Zelle, Maj 
15tli, 1676. 

We cannot here enter into the arbitrary nature 
of this document, as far as it prejudices the natural 
claims of any heirs the Duke might have by this 
legal marriage^ and disposes of his subjects with- 
out the slightest reference to their wishes : let it 
suffice that it shows the hard bargain the princely 
ecclesiastic drove with his brother, before he would 
permit him to enter into a legal marriage with the 
lady who had proved herself so worthy of the 
honour of becoming his Duchess. But this was 
only one of the documents illustrative of this 
brotherly compact The next bears the date of 
the 21st of August of the same year, and stipu- 

** That the children bom of this marriage shall 
be called Counts and Countesses of Wilhehnsburg, 
but should Sophia Dorothea marry into a princely 
family, she should eitjoy the title of Duchess of 
Brunswick-Liineburg. All that the Duke has 
bequeathed to them from his allodial estates, and 
to which no one can prevent their succeeding, to 
belong to them as their property. Furthermore, 
ten thousand thalers are to be paid to the Duchess 


at the decease of her husband ; and she is also to 
have as a dowry the Castle of Liineburg, and an 
annual income of eight thousand thalers. All this, 
at her death, is to revert to the sovereign ; but 
her unsatisfied claims are to be paid to her 

This document was signed by the Duke and the 
Bishop, and also by Anthony Ulrick Duke of 
Wolfenbiittel, who took no ordinary interest in 
those proceedings. A convocation of the deputies 
of the country was then assembled, and the con- 
tents of the treaties that had been entered into 
made known to them, as appears from the follow- 
ing paper. 

^ Be it known, when his Serene Highness 
George William Duke of Brunswick-Liineburg,* 
our most gracious sovereign, had assembled his 
councillors of the country, and others belonging 
to the states, in his residence, and informed them 
how his Serene Highness had determined to enter 
into Christian matrimony with the highborn Lady 
Eleonore von Harburg, Countess of Wilhelmsburg; 
that, for particular considerations his Serene High- 
ness had agreed in brotherly manner with his 

* All the brothers were designated by the same ducal title. 


Serene Highness the Bishop of Osnabriick, Duke 
of Bnmswick-Luneborg, that his daughter Sophia 
Dorothea, promised to wife to his Serene High- 
ness Augustus Frederick, Duke of Brunswick- 
Wolfenbiittel, should bear the title and arms of a 
Princess by birth of Brunswick and Liineburg, but 
all sons and daughters bom of this wedlock, must 
content themselves with the title of Counts and 
Countesses of Wilhelmsburg, and that they are 
to make no pretensions to the succession, so long 
as any male heirs of the Dukes of Brunswick- 
Liineburg, exist; but at the demise of Duke 
George William, the said Ernest Augustus, and 
after him his eldest son, son's son, and so on, male 
heirs of their body, in accordance with the rights 
of primogeniture, are to be the successors ; and 
to this end the assent of the emperor has 
been obtained ; and, therefore, the Estates have 
been assembled, that in their own name, and in 
that of others, they may bind themselves to con- 
form to and not to oppose it The said Estates 
have thereupon deliberated on this subject, and 
declare as follows: — 

"That though they acknowledge with devo- 
tion the paternal care and kindness for the 


welfare of his faithful sabjects, and therefore 
evince their humility and gratitude, in desiring 
and imploring the Almighty to prolong the health 
of his Serene Highness for many years, hence- 
forth to govern his country in peace and happi- 
ness ; nevertheless, should the Omnipotent Power 
transplant his Serene Highness into eternal glory, 
they will keep, and engage in the name of the 
other Estates to keep, and live in obedience to 
the said commands of his Serene Highness. 

'' But since they, in the oath of homage, have 
promised — should his Serene Highness leave this 
world, and a sou or sons survive, — that they would 
accept such in succession as their future sove- 
reigns, and as such respect and honour them, they 
have been induced to request his Serene Highness 
to be pleased to dispense with their keeping such 
oath, in so far as it relates to the male heirs iu 
the line of descent 

*' As it has been customary in this duchy and 
province, that on every occasion of paying here- 
ditary homage, the next successor in the govern- 
ment should promise, under his own hand, to 
keep and confirm the privileges of the Estates, they 
will not the less live in hopes that his aforesaid 


Serene Highness Ernest Augustus, and his heirs, 
the succeeding Dukes of Brunswick-Liineburg, 
will give the same guarantee.** 

** Whereupon his Serene Highness informed the 
members of the Estates present, that in this matter 
their request was granted ; and that, in accord- 
ance with the contents of the said contract of 
marriage and brotherly arrangement, as respects 
the oath of allegiance, his Serene Highness 
had promised and aiTanged everything regard- 
ing the succession which had been confirmed 
by his imperial majesty, in consideration of the 
privileges and other assurances between a sove- 
reign and his Estates, that what had been for- 
merly allowed should be followed, and should 
not be altered by the brother of his Serene 

** Whereupon the said Estates present^ declare 
themselves to be bound, and herewith bind them- 
selves, in the aforesaid case — which they trust the 
Almighty may postpone for a long time — that his 
Serene Highness should quit this world — and even 
though he should leave sons by the said marriage, 
that they, the Estates should not acknowledge 
any prince save the above-mentioned Duke Ernest 


Augustus, and on his demise, his eldest son, or 
son's son, and so on, to their male heirs, according 
to the right of primogeniture : and that thej would 
take the oath of allegiance accordingly, and as to 
the rest that thej would act, without fail, as good 
and faithful subjects* 

'' In witness whereof, this document has been 
signed by his Serene Highness, and bears the 
seals and signatures of the councillors of the 

George William. 

Ludolph Otto von Estorff. Johan Freidrich too dem 
Christian von der Wense. Knesebeck. 

Augustus von Grote. Levin Ernst von Meding. 

Julius Augustus von Bothmer. Georg Werner von Ham- 
Christian von Bulow. horst. 

Otto von Estorf. Christoph Ernst von Gilten. 

Ludolph Otto von Hasselhorst. Friedrich Otto von Damien- 
Cord von Bulow. berg. 

JohanDietrichvonKetteilburg. Veit Franz von EUtzacker. 

Julius Otto von Wittorf. August Friedrich von Ho- 
Christian Diedrich von Har- denberg. 

ling. Werner August von Meding. 

George Ernst von Meking. Magny von Hohnhorst. 

Johann Otto von Mandelsloh. Dietrich Ernst von Hohn- 
Wemer Herrman Sporke. horst." 

Other signatures of subordinate officials follow. 



The nuptial ceremony was performed with due 
solemnity. The Duke, before all his court, his 
cousin Anthony Ulrich of Wolfenbiittel, and the 
assembled spectators, marrying the lady, and 
from that time forth the fortunate Eleonore 
d'Olbreuse became the acknowledged consort 
and rightful Duchess of the sovereign of Zelle. 

But if this was an important change for the 
mother, it was equally so for the daughter, for it 
at once placed the young Sophia Dorothea in the 
rank of princesses, and elevated her far above the 
hopes of Count Kbnigsmark and other noble 
suitors, for whom, by popular report, her hand 
had been destined. 


Sophia Dorothea an object of interest among the princes of 
Germany — An alliance with the family of the Duke of 
Wolfenbiittel preferred by her mother — She is betrothed to 
his eldest son. Prince Augustus Frederick — lie is killed 
soon afterwards at the siege of Philippsburg — Disappoint- 
ment of the Duchess of Zelle — Her fame — The Bishop of 
Osnabruck regards her with ill will — He becomes an imitator 
of Louis XIV. — Court mistresses — The Bishop's personal 
appearance — Mesdemoiselles Von Aleisenbei^— They write 
a French pastoral in which they appear before the Bishop's 
sons — Effect of their fascinations on the young princes and 
their governors — M. Platen marries the eldest Mademoiselle 
Meisenberg — M. Busche is united to her sister — Conduct 
of these ladies on their introduction at court — Platen be- 
comes prime minister of the Bishop of Osnabruck — His 
manoeuvres to bring forward his wife — She obtains a place 
at court — Comparison between Madame Platen and Madame 
de Maintenon, and Alice Perrers — Petticoat influence — 
Madame Platen becomes the mistress of the Bishop — In- 
structs her sister how to secure the same connexion with 
his eldest son — Education of the Princess Sophia Dorothea — 
Count Konigsmark enters the army— Prince Augustus Wil- 
liam of Wolfenbuttel a suitor for the hand of Sophia Do- 
rothea — Objections of her father — ^The Princess at this 
period — ^The Duchess of Zelle favours the views of Prince 
Augustus William — Betrothal of the Prince and Princess de- 
ferred — Madame Platen's intrigues to increase her influ- 
ence over the Bishop. 

VOL. I. 



It might be presumed from what has already 
been shown of the career of the admirable mother 
of Sophia Dorothea, that at this period of it she 
could not have had a wish ungratified. She had 
attained the highest elevation to which she could 
have aspired, and her onlj child, to whose educa- 
tion she devoted those talents which had gained 
for her the reputation of being the most accom- 
plished woman of her age, had become an object 
of interest to many of the most powerful princes 
in Germany. Such of these sovereigns as had 
sons were extremely desirous of an alliance with 
the important family of Brunswick-Liineburg. 
Eager, however, as they were to put forward 
their pretensions, they were forestalled in a quar- 
ter which, as they quickly discovered, left them 
no chance of success. 

E 2 


The steady and valuable friendship of the Duke 
of Wolfenbiittel had made a deep impression on 
the heart of the grateful Duchess of Zelle, and, 
as soon as such an arrangement became desirable, 
she exerted all her influence over her husband, — 
with whom, at this time, her slightest wish seemed 
a law— to gain his consent to the betrothal of his 
daughter with the eldest son of his cousin. To 
this the Duke at first was disinclined, wishing to 
defer it till the Princess was older, but the Duchess 
ultimately overruled his objections, and with a 
degree of ceremony worthy of the importance of 
the occasion, the Princess Sophia Dorothea was 
betrothed to Augustus Frederick, Crown Prince 
of Wolfenbiittel, who was to receive with her a 
fortune of 100,000 thalers from tlie territory of 
Zelle; and though he was not to inherit the 
duchy, all the allodial estates and their appurte- 
nances were to become the property of the Prin- 
cess. This betrothal is acknowledged in a docu- 
ment quoted in a preceding page. 

The satisfaction which the Duchess enjoyed from 
this arrangement unfortunately lasted but a short 
time, for the very promising son of her estimable 
friend was wounded in the head by a ball at the 


siege of Philippsburg, on the 9th of August,* 1676, 
of which he died nine days subsequently. This 
was a heavy disappointment, but it was only the 
first of a series of annoyances, that, now she had 
attained the summit of her ambition, threatened to 
fill her position with discomfort, insult, and misery. 

In Zelle, so high was her reputation, that it 
was impossible to exceed the respect with which 
she was treated ; and in many of the neighbouring 
states the fame of her virtues occasioned her 
name to be regarded with the greatest considera- 
tion. The court of the Bishop of Osnabriick 
appeared to be the only place where she was 
spoken of disrespectfully. That worthy prelate 
was carrying on his political intrigues with more 
ardour than ever ; and, notwithstanding the ad- 
vantages he had derived by her marriage into his 
house, if he ever did give a thought of the consort 
of his brother, it was sure to be attended with 
a sneer. Though she was rightful Duchess, she 
was still slightingly spoken of among his confidants 
as his brother^s madame ; and his &mily studiedly 
withheld from her that respect to which she was 
so well entitled. 

The Bishop appears to have held Louis the 


XlVth as his model,— on a reduced scale imi- 
tating that magnificent monarch's love of show, 
and on a scale still lower displaying a like talent 
for political government. But, as the court of 
Louis Quatorze would have been nothing without 
a bevy of royal mistresses, the careful copyist 
seems to have taken due pains that in this respect 
Osnabriick should approach as nearly as possible 
to Paris. He soon discovered that there was 
not wanting a sufficiency of &ir dames in his see, 
frail enough to be qualified for the important posts 
he desired them to fill 

The appearance of the Bishop at this time could 
not have been in a superlative degree attractive 
to female eyes, as his countenance was becoming 
marked with the impress of age, and was much 
too stolid for a lover of fair ladies, and too heavy 
for an imitator of Louis le Grand Yet he found 
these deficiencies no impediments with the un- 
prejudiced aspirants fof his favour. Those indi- 
viduals of the sex who were most ambitious of 
obtaining his notice, possessed minds of a stamp 
that cared not for finding in the aspect of a royal 
'patron any evidence of the nobility of his station. 
It was quite sufficient for their purpose that he 


was BovereigQ of the country, and the dispenser of 
its honours and rewards. 

Among the ladies who presented themselves at 
the court of this royal Bishop about this period, 
were the two handsome daughters of Count Carl 
Philip von Meisenberg, — Clara Elizabeth and 
Catherine Marie. Their education had just been 
completed, and every pains had been taken to 
render it quite a-la-mode. That is to say, with no 
very distinct principles, and no decided religious 
impressions, their minds were filled with the 
wisdom of French romances, and* their hearts 
stored with the morality of French gallantry. 
They dressed, danced, looked, and complimented 
in the most effective manner. They appear to 
have come to the episcopal court with the laudable 
object of doing there the best that they could for 
themselves ; and they soon allowed it to be made 
known that they were not very scrupulous as to 
the means they should employ for their^ own ad- 

As respects their utter want of principle, they 
were much alike, but as regards their talent' for 
intrigue, the elder sister was so far superior, that 
the other was a mere child in comparison. There 


are instances enough on record of the extra- 
ordinary degree of cleverness in doing evil that a 
badly-disposed nature may attain, — and at that 
very period the Mesdemoiselles Meisenberg had se- 
veral female contemporaries, who, by the exercise 
of the rarest talents for evil-doing, had contrived to 
raise themselves to the highest eminence in their 
profession; but Elizabeth, the elder of these 
syrens, possessed a genius for everything that was 
vile, which placed either contemporaries or pre- 
decessors very far behind her. In her were com- 
bined the subtlety of a Montespan with the 
treachery of a Marie de Medicis. She, too, had 
probably heard of the fame of Louis XIV., and 
was not disinclined to assist the Bishop of Osna- 
briick in his endeavour to resemble so famous an 
encourager of female merit. 

It is recorded that the first time these young 
ladies distinguished themselves was on the occa- 
sion of a fete in the year 1673, given in honour 
of the return to Osnabriick of the two sons of 
the Bishop Ernest Augustus, the Princes George 
Lewis, and Maximilian, with their governor^ 
Messrs. Platen and Busche, when they composed 
a little entertainment in French, entitled ^ Pas- 


torale pour regaler Messeignenrs les jennes Princes 
de Brunswick-Liineburg, &c., a leur arrivee a Os- 
Dabrugge, &c., Ordonnee par Mesdemoiselles von 

The young ladies, in the dress of shepherdesses, 
recited this poem to the young princes and their 
governors, and sought every means, by the display 
of their attractions, to make a lasting impression 
on their audience. Both Platen and Busche were 
rising men at court, whose prospects were very 
favourable: and flattery was not spared in the 
course of this loyal effusion, to make it palat- 
able to the masters as well as to their pupils. 
The entertainment went off with a success that 
must have fulfilled the most sanguine anticipations 
of the feir performers. The Crown Prince ap- 
peared quite delighted with the younger sister, 
and his governor was equally so; in short, the 
youthful Catherine had fascinated both master 
and ^upil. The more talented Elizabeth did not 
so evidently captivate the younger Prince, but so 
completely did she charm his instructor that his 
heart became entirely her own from that hour. 

The brothers soon after proceeded to finish 
their education with a little military service, for 


which the elder shewed a marked predilection ; 
but Catherine Meisenberg had made an impression 
on the youth which was not destined to fade very 
soon. Whether M. Platen was aware of the state 
of his pupils feelings, has not transpired, but he 
seems to have been well acquainted with the con- 
dition of his own, and to have lost no time in 
endeavouring to make the lady interested in them. 
She considered well the advantages that she should 
derive by marrying a man who already held a 
situation of considerable trust at court She 
studied his disposition, and found it to be exactly 
what she would most strongly desire in a husband ; 
and his principles were of that peculiar elasticity 
that would bear almost any degree of stretching, 
without their creating the slightest apprehension 
of injury to his own interest. 

In a short time, Elizabeth Meisenberg became 
Madame Platen, and she was soon able to congratu- 
late herself upon the excellence of her judgment, in 
having selected one of the very few men to be 
found throughout the whole German continent, 
capable of becoming the sort of instrument which 
it was her object to make him. . This marriage was 
soon followed by that of Catherine to M. Busche^ 


and the sisters had scarcely gained their position 
as married women, when they employed all their 
resources to attract notice towards themselves by 
outdressing all the most distinguished ladies at 
court, and by outintriguing all the most intriguing 
women in the same high circle. The elder was, 
as she had hitherto been, the director and leader in 
all the various schemes and arts to which recourse 
was had to advance these unprincipled women 
in their career : the younger was content to follow 
and to submit herself entirely and without ques- 
tion, to the powerful genius of the other. 

They put themselves forward on every possible 
occasion, and, being women of a showy appearance, 
dressing in a style of unusual splendour, and pos- 
sessed of elegant and graceful manners, with the 
gayest and most unreflecting portion of the society 
they shortly became extremely popular. Platen, 
from the service of the heir apparent, was pro- 
moted to a confidential office about the person of 
the sovereign, and subsequently was elevated to 
the responsible office of minister. This was highly 
gratifying to his ambitious wife. It brought her 
within the circle where she had so intensely 
longed to be one of the most powerful. She 



more fiillj opened her views to her sister, who 
readily offered her most active co-operation. Her 
own husband, also, was pressed into the service, 
and a singular service he was expected to per- 

Platen was frequently consulted by the Bishop, 
who was greatly impressed in his favour by his 
apparent zeal, and excessive devotion to his in- 
terests ; and it was his task to mention, as though 
a matter of conversation only, certain remarks, on 
matters of political importance, which his wife had 
made from time to time. These apparently evinced 
so much discernment, and showed such a remark- 
able interest for the State, that the Bishop began to 
be curious to see and converse with a female pos- 
sessed of so strange a talent for government. A 
situation was quickly found for Madame Platen 
about the person of the Duchess, which afforded 
facilities for. frequent communicatioa between her 
and her sovereign. 

This was an important advance. She put forth 
all her fascinations ; she displayed her conversap 
tional talents, which were very considerable, 
in the most effectual manner, and exhibited not 
only a most intense interest in the prosperity 


of the government of Bishop Ernest Augustus, 
but showed a sympathy still more flattering for 
his happiness. The old gentleman was at once 
astonished and fascinated, and the power that the 
widow of Scarron gained over the great King, 
threatened to be exceeded by the influence which 
the wife of M. Platen was exercising over his 
weak-minded imitator. 

But Madame Platen had few feelings, or perhaps 
we should say, failings, in common with the pious 
mistress of Louis XIV. ; she was much more of a 
Ninon de TEnclos than a Madame de Maintenon : 
but in an insatiable ambition, in carelessness of 
every moral obligation, she was at least equal, if 
not superior to that extraordinary character. The 
Frenchwoman was, however, the more respect- 
able personage of the two, and used her influence, 
improper as it may have been, in a manner as 
diflerent as possible from the elaborate treachery 
and brazen impudence, which displayed Itself in 
the intrigues of the now powerful mistress of 
his Serene Highness the Bishop of Osnabriick. 

The annals of court intrigue contain many ex- 
amples of unprincipled women maintaining an 
absolute ascendency over the mind of a sovereign 


apparently near his dotage, to the obstmction of 
justice, and the dishonour of the government. 
We have only to allude to what lawyers would 
pronounce " a case in point," existing in our own 
history, to be found in the connexion of the 
venerable hero, Edward III., with Dame Alice 
Ferrers. According to some of our most plain- 
speaking old chroniclei's. Dame Ferrers and Ma- 
dame Platen bore an extraordinary likeness to 
each other. 

Fortunately for us, court favourites of this sort 
have not occurred very frequently in our history ; 
but, in the French annals, mistresses appear to 
have been thought a much more necessary append- 
age to the State than queens; and Madame Flatens 
may be found, by the half-dozen at least, in 
almost every reign. They had flourished rarely 
of late years, and were so completely in accord- 
ance with the genius of the French people, that, 
in the most popular reigns — ^for instance those of 
Henri Quatre and Louis Quatorze — they sprouted 
up like mushrooms in a meadow. They had 
become a fashion in France, and, with other 
French fashions readily found a footing at some 
of the German courts. They had found more 


than a footing at Osnabriick^ and it seemed to 
be the design of the Bishop's mistress, as soon as 
she had completely established herself at court, 
to render petticoat influence as predominant at 
the episcopal palace of that ancient see as ever 
it had been at Versailles, 

With this object in view, Madame Platen care- 
fully instructed her sister, Madame Busche, in the 
arts necessary for her to gain the same kind of as- 
cendency over the Crown-Prince, as she had ob- 
tained over his father. Court intrigues bear usually 
a most immoral aspect, but we cannot call to mind 
anything so vile in the most depraved court as 
the abominable conduct of these married sisters, 
in thus entering into a compact to lend them- 
selves to the licentious inclinations of father and 

In the mean time, the lovely Sophia Dorothea 
was £ei8t rising into an accomplished and graceful 
womanhood* No pains had been spared with her 
education, which, having been directed by her 
mother, who was, as we have said, one of the 
best educated women throughout Germany, it 
cannot be deemed extraordinary that, wherever 
her name was mentioned, her talents were quite as 


much lauded as her beauty. Count Konigsmark 
— if he had ever aspired so high, which is at least 
questionable — saw the complete hopelessness of 
success in such a suit. He may have been allowed 
access to the Princess occasionally at the court en- 
tertainments, during his residence at Zelle, and con- 
tinued among her acquaintance, but he must have 
seen that such an intercourse couldonly be prolonged 
at a very respectful distance. He entered the army, 
and devoted himself to a military career with an 
ardour that appeared to foretell very splendid suc- 
cess. He travelled from one court to another, and 
wherever he stayed he succeeded in establishing 
for himself a splendid reputation, for his remarkably 
handsome appearance, his costly style of living, 
his excessive liberality, and apparently exbaustless 

The Princess was now an object for the active 
rivalry of the most powerful princes in Northern 
Germany. We have elsewhere alluded to her 
early betrothal and its unhappy result. The 
death of the Crown-Prince of Wolfenbiittel, left 
the field open to the marriageable sons of other 
sovereigns. The Duchess Eleonore was much con- 
cerned at the loss which her estimable friend had 


experienced in the loss of his gallant son, but she 
still cherished the same wish for an alliance be- 
tween their families — a wish ardently reciprocated 
by the Duke of Wolfenbiittel : who, as soon as 
circumstances would allow, proposed that his 
second son^ Prince Augustus William should take 
the place of his deceased brother, as an accepted 
suitor for the hand of the Princess. 

The Duchess of Zelle warmly seconded his 
views, and advocated them to her husband ; but 
Duke George William possessed a mind easily 
influenced by prejudices of the most childish cha- 
racter, and these prejudices, when once they 
had made their impression, the more they were 
combated the more fixed they became. Like 
other members of his family, though capable of 
generous impulses, he was quite as readily to be 
swayed by some of a very opposite kind, and 
those that were in any way connected with pride 
and self-love, were sure to be of that intensity 
which characterize the impulses of vanity acting 
upon a narrow mind. 

The Duke of Zelle looked upon the death of 
his intended son-in-law as an omen, and was re- 
luctant to receive another member of his cousin's 

VOL. I. F 


fiunily in the same position. He made various 
excuses, and on different pretences deferred the 
desired betrothal of his daughter to the young 
Prince ; but as he did not positively forbid the 
alliance, and as he allowed the young people to 
associate on the footing of lovers, all those most 
interested in the matter rested satisfied with his 
assurances that he had no positive objections to 
the match, and that on the Princess arriving at 
an age when she might be thought capable of 
judging for herself, he would not interfere with 
her inclinations should they be in fieivour of the 
son of his old friend and kinsman. 

The Princess Sophia Dorothea was now ap- 
proaching that delightful period in woman's ex- 
istence that divides girlhood from womanhood, 
and showed to what sterling advantage the super- 
intending care of her accomplished mother had 
been applied. Her education had been rendered 
as perfect^ as the resources of her Other's court 
and her father's wealth could supply. She was 
eminently skilled in whatever was deemed desir- 
able a lady of the highest rank should know. 
She gave promise of more than ordinary mental 
• capacity, and was gifted with a most lovely coun- 


tenance, and a figure of faultless symmetry, which 
a natural grace and a gentle and amiable dispo- 
sition clothed with a thousand additional attrac- 
tions. Her dancing was worthy the daughter of 
a Frenchwoman, and the same graceful spirit per- 
vaded her every movement : on this appeared to 
be grafted the high tone of moral feeling, and the 
just perception of the useftil and the good, which 
render the German character so admirable for all 
the purposes of sociality. 

Her mother enabled the Crown Prince of 
Wolfenbiittel to obtain as much of her society as 
must have been sufficient, where nothing pre- 
judicial to a mutual affection existed, to dispose 
them to form an attachment ; and she endeavoured 
by all means in her power to impress the mind 
of each with fevourable sentiments of the other. 
It was scarcely possible for the Prince to be in- 
sensible of the beauty and worth of his young 
kinswoman ; and, although she had opportunities 
of beholding many other youthful noblemen of the 
highest rank, equally prepossessing in their ap- 
pearance, there can be but little doubt that the 
more friendly intimacy she enjoyed with Prince 
Augustus William, and the influence of her mother's 

F 2 


wishes, enabled bim to gain a degree of footing 
in ber tiivour, wbich none of his rivals bad the 
slightest chance of obtaining. 

It was now close upon the time when, in ac- 
cordance with the repeated excuses of Duke 
George William to defer the consideration of the 
subject, the Princess would attain the age at which 
she would be allowed to exercise her own judg- 
ment in the choice of a suitor, and all the parties 
most interested were delighting themselves with 
the pleasant prospects that seemed to open before 
them. The young Prince was enraptured by the 
conviction he entertained, that he was not indif- 
ferent to the Princess. The Duke his father con- 
gratulated himself on the near approach of so de- 
sirable an alliance. The Duchess Eleonore felt 
equal gratification in the hopes in which she in- 
dulged, that she would still be enabled to evince 
her gratitude to her friend -by advancing the in- 
terests of his family ; and the young lady had, no 
doubt, her pleasing anticipations from the close 
approach of the time when she might enjoy the 
valuable privilege of selecting a lover who was 
agreeable to herself, and approved of by her 


Tlie Duke of Zelle' appeared to be the only 
person in his court who evinced no transports, 
and uttered no favourable anticipations of the 
happiness in store for his daughter. He had not 
sought to interpose between the young people; 
but he was not, as we have said, favourable to 
their union. He had, however, made up his mind 
that on his daughters birth-day, if she so desired 
it, the betrothal should take place. 

It was at this crisis that the most complete 
disappointment to the wishes of the little 
party at Zelle, was preparing from a quarter 
whence such a blow could not have been antici- 
pated by any of them. The court of Hanover 
was now the focus of feminine intrigue : Madame 
Platen ruling as completely in the cabinet as in 
the saloon. As she professed to take an amazing 
interest in whatever affected the Bruuswick- 
Liineburg family, it was necessary for her to show 
in some decided manner the zeal she pretended. 
She knew the Bishop looked with great jealousy 
upon the intimacy that existed between the Duke 
of Wolfenbiittel, and his brother, at Zelle,. and 
that any alliance between the families was ex- 
tremely distasteful to him, for the approach it 


offered Duke Antony Ulrich towards a settle- 
ment of certain claims he had on Liinebnrg, the 
whole of which territory the Bishop looked on as 
his own. 

Madame Platen was well aware of all that was 
doing at Zelle. She had spies there who were 
well paid by her, and were therefore not 
likely to withhold any intelligence of import- 
ance. The Crown Prince of Hanover, it is 
true, she had turned over to her sister ; and 
as she had learned that the grand object with 
her liberal sovereign and protector was a mar- 
riage commensurate with his heir's magnificent 
prospects, she did not hesitate about taking him 
out of the hands of Madame Busche the moment 
she found it less to her advantage to retain him 
there. Possibly she may have anticipated keeping 
up the amiable connexion, quite as comfortably 
after his marriage as before it : but she knew that 
hi^ father had so completely set his heart' upon his 
forming an alliance that should increase the ter- 
ritory now in the possession of the fsonily, that he 
would think no reward too great for her in- 
suring it 

But the Crown Prince has not as yet been pro- 


perly introduced to the reader, and as he will 
be found very shortly taking a prominent part in 
the transactions that will presently be related, it 
is time they were better acquainted. 


Greorge Lewis. Crowii Prince of Hanover, eldest son of the 
Bishop of Osnabriick — His neglected education — The Prin- 
cess Sophia, his mother — Dean Lockier's opinion of her — 
The Crown Prince embraces the military profession — Dis- 
tinguishes himself in the Held — He travels to England — 
Becomes a suitor for the hand of Princess Anne, daughter 
of James II. — His want of success — The Bishop succeeds 
to the territories of his brother, Duke John Frederick — 
Further arrangements between him and the Duke of Zelle — 
His jealousy of the Duke of Wolfenbuttel — Madame Platen 
suggests a marriage between the Crown Prince of Hanover 
and Sophia Dorothea — She corrupts the confidential mi- 
nister of the Duke of Zelle — Bemstorf dissuades the Duke 
against the proposed betrothal' of his daughter — The Crown 
Prince of Hauover recalled from England — Indisposed to 
become a suitor for the hand of his cousin — His mother 
drawn into a scheme for obtaining the consent of the Duke 
of Zelle — Her complete success —The Duke breaks oif the 
negotiation with the Duke of Wolfenbuttel — Despair of the 
Duchess — Her impression of the proposed marriage of the 
Crown Prince of Hanover with her daughter — Hurried pre- 
parations for thb unioA — Liberal arrangements of the Duke 
— Marriage of the Princess — Proceeds with her husband 
to Hanover. 



Georoe Lewis, eldest son of Ernest Augustus 
and the Princess Sophia, was bom at Osnabriick on 
the 28th of May, 1660. There was either no great 
pains taken with his education, or there existed 
in him no particular capacity for study. Perhaps 
both these causes may have contributed to form a 
very narrow understanding, for that parent to 
whom the son is usually indebted for his first im- 
pressions, although she put forth pretensions to 
considerable learning, and affected a vast liking 
for the society of eminent scholars, loved her ease 
too much to give herself much trouble in endea- 
vouring to form the minds, of her children. Those 
writers who have alluded to her, ' speak highly of 
her attaiments, but even from them it is easy to 
perceive how unfit she was to perform the most 
important duties of a mother. 

** The Princess Sophia," says Dean Lockier, 


" was a woman of good sense and excellent con- 
versation. I was very well acquainted with her. 
She sat veiy loose in her i-eligious principles^ and 
used to take a particular pleasure in setting a 
heretic (infidel ?) whenever she could meet with 
such, and one of her chaplains disputing toge- 

At such a court as this, where the father was a 
profligate, and the mother little better than an 
atheist, their associates and dependants were not 
likely to have been the most exemplary characters, 
and therefore we are not much surprised that 
Prince George, very early in his career, distin- 
guished himself by qualities the reverse of amia- 
ble and intelligent. The importance of his posi- 
tion he was soon made to understand, but he 
never could be brought to comprehend the ne- 
cessity of his acting in a manner consonant with 
it As he showed neither taste nor ability for 
the lessons of his tutor, he wai?^ sent to the army 
as soon as he could handle a weapon ; and in his 
fifteenth year we find him serving under his father 
in the brilliant campaign of 1675.* 

* The Bishop of Osnahruck was far more distinguished for 
his military, than for his ecclesiastical services, as we have 


lie saw plenty of active service, fur he was 
present at the battle of Consarbriick, and at the 
taking of Treves. Fighting he liked a great deal 
better than learning, in fact better than anything 
else, for after his first campaign he appeared to 
find no pleasure but in the camp, and rarely left 
the army, but to hurry back again whenever there 
was a prospect of active service. In this way he 
visited different parts of Europe, to which, had he 
not been attracted by the clamour of Avar, he 
would not have troubled himself to learn their 
names. Hungary, the Morea, Germany, and 
Flanders, were, at various periods, the scenes of 
his military adventures, till the peace of Ninieguen 
in 1679, when he extended his travels by visiting 
France, England, and other countries. 

His travels now, however, had much more of a 
political than of a military character. At the 
Court of France the Prince was required to en- 
deavour to improve, as far as possible, his father's 
relations with the sovereign ; but at the Court of 
St. James's, his was a much more delicate and 
difficult mission. It was no other than to appear 

hinted in a preceding page, and took an active part in many n 
hard-fought campaign. 


as a suitor for the hand of the Princess Anne» 
daughter of King James the Second. 

Among the crowd of princes who were anxious 
to obtain so desirable a consort. Prince George 
Lewis of Hanover was inclined to put himself in 
the ^nt rank. The royal adventurer strove to 
attract this august lady's attention, but whether 
it was he was not so refined a courtier as he was 
an able soldier, or there were at the Court of St 
JamesX individuals with whose society and appear- 
ance the Princess was better pleased, his suit did 
not prosper. It would have been somewhat extraor* 
dinary if it had, — the Prince having never, during 
his life, showed any predilection for female society, 
except that portion of it in which it was a dis- 
grace to him to mingle. The Princess must have 
been more amused than surprised by his addresses ; 
and the ladies of her Other's court, there is no 
doubt, found infinite entertainment in the awkward 
efforts of the German lover of her Royal Highness 
to render himself acceptable to her. 

JBut though the Princess Anne declined him for 
a husband, his visit to England was not altogether 
unprofitable, for one of the universities did him 
the honour of conferring upon him the distinction 
of Doctor of Laws. 


Duke John Frederic, the Bovereign of Calen- 
berg, died on the 15th of December, 1679. Bishop 
Ernest inherited his territories, that formed the 
south-western portion of Brunswick-Liineburg, of 
which Hanoverwas the capital. The follies and vices 
of the episcopal court atOsnabriick,were now trans- 
ferred to the Ducal Court of Hanover ; and with 
Platen prime minister, and his worthless wife 
prime favourite, the new seat of government soon 
became the scene of more discreditable proceed- 
ings than had disgraced the old one. 

The Bishop had been diligently engaged in 
seeking every means of aggrandizing his family, and 
had entered into additional arrangements with his 
brother Duke George William, which, while seek- 
ing advantages for the Duchess Eleonore and her 
daughter, still further secured the succession to 
himself and his heirs. 

We have alluded to the scornful manner in 
which he^reated his brother's consort. It attract^ 
the attention of the Duke ; who, on the ISth day 
of July, 1680, arranged a new treaty, by which the 
Duchess was allowed the title of Duchess of Bruns- 
wick-Liineburg. This was signed, as in the previ- 
ous instance, by the sovereign of Zelle, and the 


assembled states; but a more important settle- 
ment was an-auged by the illustrious brotiier* on 
the 30th of March 1682 ; wherein, Duke George 
William leaves his share of the Thedinghausen 
domain, the country between the Weser and the 
AUer, with all its rights and privileges, to Ernest 
Augustus, on the most favourable terms possible 
to the Ducal ecclesiastic, who was diplomatist 
enough to make excellent bargains \vith his 
brother. In this document, Ernest Augustus 
still more strongly sanctions the previous ar- 
rangement regarding the lordship of Wilhelms- 

Notvnthstanding the security he had gained 
regarding his succession to his brother s dominions, 
Ernest Augustus continued to observe with great 
uneasiness the confidential intimacy existing 
between his brother and Anthony Ulrich, Duke of 
Wolfenbiittel. The wife of his prime minister — 
now regarded as an oracle of diplomacy — ^made 
use of a favourable opportunity for disclosing to 
hinpi, with arguments * that brought with them 
immediate conviction, the policy of his disappoint- 
ing the expectations of Duke Anthony Ulrich, 
whose proceedings at Zelle had been carried on 


with a great deal of mystery ; nevertheless, Ma- 
dame Platen, ])y her spies, had discovered that an 
interview had taken place in the year 1682, 
between the cousins, when they agreed that the 
Crown Prince of Wolfeubiittel should marrv the 
Princess Sophia Dorothea: and although this 
agreement was to be kept secret, the preparations 
that were making at Zelle, and the expected arri- 
val there of the young Prince, made the afiair 
very clear to the comprehension of the shrewd 
wife of the prime minister. 

Madame Platen easily alarmed her patron by a 
disclosure of the evil effects that must result to 
his family from the contemplated marriage ; and 
then proceeded to show how secure he might 
make himself of all his brother's possessions, as 
well as — a natural consequence of such an addition 
to his territory — obtain still more important acquisi- 
tions and honours, that would be sure to follow. 
With the assistance of her husband, she had learned 
as much as could be known of the dispositions of 
those persons in Duke George William's service, 
who were supposed to be in his confidence, or 
exercised any influence over his aflairs. These 
were, Biilow, president of the chamber, Grapen- 

VOL. I. o 


dorf, a lord of the bed-chamber, and Stechinelly, 
a counsellor ; but with true policy, she passed 
over these as inferior instruments, and boldlj 
sought to gain her ends through the medium of the 
Duke's prime minister ; a vain weak man, whose 
pride and avarice laid him open to the snares of 
so skilful a tempter. His name was Bemstor^ his 
principles sat very loosely upon him, and Madame 
Platen soon discovered how easily he might be 
made to play the traitor. 

We have already alluded to the influence the 
Duchess Eleonore was enabled, by the mere exer- 
cise of a superior understanding, to exert over her 
husband. This had frequently been felt at the 
council, for the Duke appreciating his consort's 
clear-sighted intellect, consulted her on matters of 
the greatest importance, and often followed her 
advice in opposition to the judgment of his minis- 
ter. The latter regarded this as an intolerable hu- 
miliation, and one motive of his ready compliance 
with the nefarious schemes of the wife of his friend, 
the prime minister of the sovereign of Hanover, 
was a desire to put an effectual stop to that very 
irksome interference in his duties he had so often 
been obliged to endure from the Duchess. Madame 


Platen was well aware of the jealousy aud ill-feel- 
ing with which Bernstorf regarded the consort of 
his sovereign ; she was also quite as well informed 
how completely his heart was set upon becoming 
a great landed proprietor ; and she showed Ernest 
Augustus how readily he might play upon this 
jealousy, and gratify this hankering for a handsome 
estate, with great advantage to himself. 

The Bishop listened with extreme interest. He 
saw at once how singularly advantageous it would 
be for him to have his eldest son marry the Prin- 
cess Sophia Dorothea, and how very likely he was 
to succeed in this, could he gain over to his 
interests his brother's chief counsellor. He did 
not hesitate in sanctioning an immediate engage- 
ment of the ready traitor, with a retaining fee in 
the shape of a gold snuff-box, set with diamonds 
from himself, and gave as willing a consent that 
promises should be held out to him, of extensive 
additions to his Janded property, provided he acted 
as he was desired. 

Madame Platen lost no time in availing herself 
of the directions she had received. Confidential 
communications were at once opened with Bern- 
storf, who took his bribe with very little pressing, 

G 2 


and displayed an extraordinary eagerness to turn 
traitor as soon as he found how greatly it might 
be to his advantage. He was instructed to draw 
the Duke's attention to the public dissatisfaction 
that existed throughout his territories, caused by 
the excessive patronage which, through the influ- 
ence of the Duchess, her countrymen had long 
enjoyed. The proportion of French officers in 
the army, as was stated, considerably out-numbered 
the Duke's subjects holding commissions. He was 
also to alarm the Duke's pride by making him 
aware of the respect he was losing among the 
rulers of Germany, by allowing his consort to 
render it apparent that she exercised the sove- 
reign influence, while he was content to be kept 
in the back-ground. 

In short, every plan was adopted that could 
have any effect upon a weak mind, and it so far 
succeeded with the Duke, that Bemstorf was 
emboldened to remonstrate with his sovereign, 
when the latter showed a determination to act on 
the suggestions of his consort, and even went so 
fiu*, though the affair was managed with great 
tact, of opposing her opinion whenever he dis- 
covered that she had been endeavouring to induce 


her husband to adopt certain measures. He particu- 
larly set himself in opposition to the intended mar- 
riage of the Princess Sophia Dorothea with Prince 
Augustus William of Wolfenbiittel, and as it was 
never cordially sanctioned by her fether, he found 
little diflSculty in producing arguments against it, 
that made it appear still more unsatisfactory. 

Although the Duchess, as soon as she perceived 
that her husband's disinclination to this alliance 
had increased, did everything in her power to 
induce him to regard it more favourably, she had 
the mortification of finding that her reasoning and 
her persuasions were now equally ineffectual. The 
betrothal of her daughter to the Crown Prince of 
Wolfenbiittel, which was to have taken place on 
her attaining her fourteenth year, was deferred till 
she arrived at her sixteenth. This was a great 
disappointment to the amiable Duchess — never- 
theless she continued with the same extreme care 
to develop the mind of the Princes^ and had the 
gratification of witnessing- the. most perfect suc- 
cess that ever crowned the efforts. of a loving mo- 
ther. The Princeps became a model' of propriety 
of conduct, while her extreme personal loveliness 
continued to excite the most marked admiration* 


Prince Augustus William was not allowed such fre- 
quent intercourse with the Princess, as had been 
permitted before Bernstorf received his diamond- 
set gold snuffbox — nevertheless so much communi- 
cation was carried on between the parties, as suf- 
ficed in their young and ardent minds to keep up 
a lively interest for each other. 

So passed the time till 1682, when the secret 
interview alluded to in a preceding page was ar- 
ranged between the two cousins, in which the 
sovereign of Zelle allowed himself so far to be in- 
fluenced by the representations of his old friend 
and kinsman, as to promise that his daughter's in- 
clinations should alone be his guide, in the choice 
of a partner for her, and at last allowed Duke 
Anthony Ulrich to leave him with the impression 
that he sanctioned the intended union. Although 
it was determined that this interview and the ar- 
rangement should be kept a profound secret, 
Bernstorf had esirly intimation of them, and imme- 
diately despatched a messenger to Hanover with 
the intelligence. 

Ernest Augustus was alarmed at this apparent 
success of the Duke of Wolfenbiittel, and his 
jealousy of his cousin was ably played upon by his 



subtle friend, Madame Platen. Finding him in 
a state of mind ready to snatch at any plan afford- 
ing a chance of disappointing the expectations of 
Duke Antony Ulrich, that clever intriguante re- 
ferred to her scheme by which he might act in a 
manner highly advantageous to his own family, 
whilst he put it out of the power of the Duke of 
Wolfenbiittel to interfere with his views. He 
saw that by the union of his eldest son with his 
brothers daughter, the two Duchies might be 
united into one government, and a vast accession 
of influence, as well as other important advan- 
tages, arise to the sovereign of Hanover. 

The plan was a capital one ; but it unfortu- 
nately happened that the Crown Prince had at 
this period been sent by his fether, as we have 
shovm, in pursuit of even higher game, and was 
as actively employed as a person of his habits was 
likely to be, in making himself agreeable to the 
future Queen of Great Britain. The communica- 
tions the politic father had received of the pro- 
gress his son was making in the affections of the 
Princess Anne were far from encouraging, and 
Ernest Augustus, in the sudden conviction he 
might be more profitably employed nearer home 


sent a recall, couched in tenns likely to obtain 
the most implicit obedience. 

Although no time was lost by the Crown Prince 
in quitting the Court of St. James's, he returned 
to HanoTer when the part he was expected to 
play looked so difficult of successfU accomplish- 
ment, that on being made iiilly acquainted with 
all that was required of him, he could not be pre- 
vailed upon to proceed. So short a time now 
intervened before the Princess would attain her 
sixteenth year, — when she was to give her hand 
to the Crown Prince of Wolfenbiittel, — that the 
case seemed quite desperate for any new suitor. 
Prince George Lewis did not like the almost cer- 
tain prospect that existed of a refusal from the 
young lady, to any new rival of her youthful kins- 
man, and could not be brought to risk such a 
discomfiture. The affair seemed every hour be- 
coming more hopeless, — but surrounded as it was 
by difficulties, it served only the more to excite 
the genius of Madame Platen. She met them 
in a manner that would have done honour to the 
craft of a Machiavelli. 

Mention has been made of the Duchess 
Sophia, the consort of the sovereign of Hanover, 


eccentric woman of strange unwomanly 
thoughts and habits. She must have been well 
aware of the improper intimacy existing between 
her husband and the wife of his prime minister, 
yet she took no notice of it, and even appeared to 
regard that lady with unusual marks of fiivour. 
Whether her spirit was so wrapped in profound 
scholarship, that she regarded the goings on around 
her as too trivial for her attention, or whether, 
in return for being allowed to enjoy the society of 
the learned Leibnitz,^ she permitted her husband 

* Leibnitz had the singular good fortune of being patronised 
by three generations of the Brunswick-Luneburg family, and 
has expressed his gratitude by becoming their chronicler. 
The first volume of his elaborate history of the house of 
Brunswick was published in the year 1707; a second and 
third in the years 1710, 1711. He was far more regarded by 
the females of the family than the males, who had about as 
much taste for learning as they seem to hare had for decency. 
The consort of Ernest Augustus affected a wonderful degree of 
pleasure in his society, and the Queen of her grandson Greorge 
II., appeared equally gratified with it. Leibnitz was undoubtedly 
a man gifled with a noble intellect, but he weakened its vast 
power by engaging in too many pursuits. " He attempted more 
than he could finish," says Gibbon, " and designed more than 
he could execute ; and he may be compared to those heroes 
whose empire has been lost in the ambition of universal con- 


to possess as many mistresses as he pleased, and 
was ready to bestow as much of her notice 
upon them as might be necessary, we have no 
means of ascertaining. It is, however, completely 
established that few women ever appeared so in- 
different to the vices of their husbands as did this 
erudite daughter of the Queen of Bohemia. She 
had hitherto taken affronts with a most marvellous 
degree of patience — she was now to show how 
able a coadjutor she could become of her hus- 
band's mistress, and how readily she could lend 
herself to work out the schemes of her wily 

There was not a minute to lose. On the mor- 
row the birth-day of the Princess would be 
celebrated, and it was known that Duke Anthony 
Ulrich and his son would arrive at Zelle in the 
morning, for the purpose of claiming her hand, 
•according to the secret arrangement. It was 
necessary she should start at once. IPshe de- 
ferred her journey till the morning, there was 
every reason for fearing she might arrive after 
the Duke of Wolfenbiittel, and therefore too late 

quest." . He died at Hanover in the year 1716, of an attack 
of gout. 


for a private interview with Duke (Jeorge Wil- 
liam, in which she was to dissuade him from tiiat 

The Duchess, as soon as she had learned her 
lesson, started off late that evening, and travelled 
all night.* As had been previously arranged, she 
reached Zelle so early in the morning that the 
Duke was employed at his dressing-room table, 
and the Duchess was in the adjoinmg chamber 
not yet risen. She fulfilled her instructions by 
at once making her way there, and got ad- 
mitted into the dressing-room by announcing 
herself as come expressly to congratulate the 
happy parents on the birth-day of their daughter. 
Both the Duke and Duchess were surprised at 
her extreme kindness in travelling all night to be 
the first to offer her congratulations, and were 
profuse in their acknowledgments. The close vi- 
cinity of the Duchess Eleonore, who had so warmly 
•favoured the hopes of the Crown Prince of 
Wolfenbiittel, might have been a damper on the 

* As the distance from Hanover to Zelle is little more thai> 
twenty miles, we have, in the stress laid on this formidable 
journey, a pretty correct idea of the customary rate of travel 
for illustrious personages in Germany, towards the dose of 
the 1 7th century. 


zeal of a less able ally, but the Duchess Sophia 
had been prepared for this, and began conversing 
with the Duke in Dutch, with which language his 
consort was unacquainted. After obtaining from 
him a promise not to divulge what she was going 
to confide to him, she quickly proceeded to inform 
her brother-in-law of the real object of her visit 

He listened with the most breathless interest 
to her skilful detail of the numerous great advan- 
tages that must arise from an alliance between 
the two ducal houses of Zelle and Hanover, 
In consequence of important services rendered 
the Emperor, she stated that it was not unreason- 
able to anticipate that the duchy would be raised 
to an electorate, and, as there existed strong 
claims on the Lauenburg territory, which there 
could be little doubt would be made good, 
the sovereign, whose rule extended over the 
territories of Liineburg, Hanover and Lauen- 
burg"' must become one of the most pdwerfiil 
throughout the German empire. Added to which, 
by judicious measures, the principalities of Bre- 
men and Verden,* that had been a fruitflil source 

* These provinces, however, were not secured to the Bruns- 
wick-Liineburg family till the reign of George II. 


of disagreement between Denmark and Sweden, 
which, though to all appearance arranged three 
years since, was still unsettled, might be an easy 
acquisition to so powerful a sovereign ; and con- 
sidering the eminent services, both diplomatic and 
military, the Emperor had received from the 
Brunswick family, still further additions of terri- 
tory might be looked for. 

The lady here observed how essential it was so 
large a government should be kept intact, and 
urged the impolicy of allowing any diminution of 
it — then coming to the point of her mission, she 
showed how irrational it would be to permit this 
noble territory to be deprived of so princely a 
portion as the Wilhelmsburg domain, (the inherit- 
ance of the Princess Sophia Dorothea,) the threat- 
ened loss of which might be avoided in the easiest 
manner possible, by a marriage of the Crown 
Prince of Hanover with the heii-ess of that fine 
property. Then, as if the argument had not 
already been made suflSciently attractive, the 
Duchess dilated on the prospect her eldest son 
had of succeeding to the throne of Great Britain, 
through her near connexion with the reigning 
family, and the favourable disposition towards him 
of the Prince of Orange. 


The Duke of Zelle was not only completely 
convinced by these representations, his mind was 
dazzled by the brilliant perspective they placed 
before him ; and as oblivious of his promises to his 
cousin, Duke Anthony Ulrich, as he was regardless 
of the wishes of his consort, — who, surprised at the 
long conversation being carried on in a language 
with which she was unacquainted, had vainly 
made frequent attempts to learn the nature of it 
— he gladly gave the most earnest assurances that 
he would do everything in his power to effect an 
alliance so desirable. The clever diplomatist re- 
tired—delighted, no doubts at the perfect success 
she had obtained, — leaving her brother-in-law to 
break to his consort, in the best manner he was 
able, the unwelcome intelligence of the arrange- 
ment to which he had bound himself. 

The Duchess at first seemed stupified with sur- 
prise — the alliance she had laboured so indus- 
triously to bring about, now on the very eve 
of being accomplished, was demolished at a blow. 
In vain she represented the outrage so sudden a 
change would be to Prince Augustus William and 
his father — in vain she implored the Duke to have 
more respect for his daughter, than to consent to 


a marriage of convenience, without in the slightest 
degree consulting her inclinations — in vain she 
begged him at least to pause and consider the 
irremediable mischief that must ensue from the 
union of two persons who had no aifection for 
each other. 

The Duke had been blinded by the splendid 
prospect he had been suffered to look at, and his 
sense of hearing had been dulled by the over- 
powering appeal to his ambition, that had been so 
artfully prepared for him by the clever wife of 
his brother's prime minister. He was now deaf 
and blind to everything, but hastening the prepa- 
rations for so desirable a marriage ; and on the 
arrival of the Duke of Wolfenbiittell and his son, 
to fulfil the interesting arrangement they had 
looked forward to with the most intense gratifi- 
cation, they received the astounding intelligence of 
the Duke of Zelle's recent change of purpose. The 
feelings of indignation with which they left the 
palace may easily be imagined, and though the 
intimacy which had so long existed between the 
two cousins was renewed, it was never again re- 
stored to the footing it had thus lost 

The Duchess Eleonore was in despair. The 



union of her beloved daughter with a prince who 
had already created for himself an evil reputation 
by his tendency towards the most vulgar profli- 
gacy, was exceedingly repulsive to her ; and be- 
came the more intolerable when brought in con- 
trast with the more desirable marriage that had 
been so abruptly put an end to. Prince Augustus 
William of Wolfenbiittell was in all things the op- 
posite of Prince George of Hanover. In truth it was 
" Hyperion to a satyr.** The former appeared to 
possess every ennobling virtue, the latter seemed 
master of almost every degrading vice. A marriage 
of expediency, under any circumstances, she knew 
to be a most hazardous speculation of human 
feelings ; but what could result to a young and 
delicate creature like the Princess Sophia Doro- 
thea, religiously educated and carefully nurtured, 
whose sympathies had already been excited to- 
wards a young and amiable prince, from her union 
with a coarse-minded, self-willed reprobate, of 
whom, if she knew anything, it must have con- 
sisted of intelligence that represented him in a 
light as fearful as possible to her pure and gentle 
nature ? 

The fond mother shuddered as she asked the 


question; but the forebodings of his vrise and 
affectionate partner, were, with the Duke, quite 
inefficacious when his own thoughtless ambition 
had received further fuel from the encouraging 
representations of the treacherous Bemstorf ; and, 
sick at heart, she found nothing was left her but 
to prepare her daughtel* for the sacrifice. The 
marriage was pressed forward with most indecent 
haste. Little time was left the Princess to get 
over her disappointment, in losing so suddenly 
the Prince whose many admirable qualities bad 
won her regard; but her devoted mother repre- 
sented with so much success the necessity of obe- 
dience to the will of her father, and the wisdom 
of conforming to circumstances, that she became 
to all appearance resigned to her fete. 

In the mood in which the sanguine Duke of 
Zelle was, the more wily concoctors of this union 
found no difficulty in obtaining his consent to the 
most liberal stipulations in the marriage contract 
that was entered into by the- brothers and their 

In the first place, it is there agreed that Duke 
George William is to give his daughter a marriage 
portion of one hundred thousand tbalers, with the . 

VOL. I. H 


estates already settled upon her. If no son is bom, 
these estates, particularly the lordship of Wilhelms- 
burg is to remain her own ; and his Highness binds 
himself not to alter the arrangements, as to their 
succession, he has already made. Should the 
Prince die before his consort, this property and 
all its revenues are to revert to his widow, that 
her children mav inherit them onlv after her de- 
mise, and as a widow she is to be entitled to a 
dower of twelve thousand thalers. 

Should the Prince die before his father, leaving 
children by this marriage, then the Wilhelmsburg 
and its appurtenances are to be inherited by the 
eldest son, according to the law of primogeniture. 
Should daughters only be bom, then the suc- 
cessors of Ernest Augustus are empowered to 
take the Wilhelmsburg and its appurtenances 
on paying the daughters two hundred thousand 
thalers, in ready money. If one or more male heirs 
survived and succeed to the Wilhdlmsburg, and 
there should only be daughters in the next gene- 
ration, or there should be no issue at all, then the 
successor in the govemment is at liberty to take 
that domain, on paying to the said females one 
hundred thousand thalers in ready money and if 


there be more than one heiress one hundred and 
fifty thousand thalers, to be equally divided amongst 
them, and to be entirely at their disposal. 

This contract was signed by Ernest Augustus 
and his eldest son, and by Duke George William 
and his daughter; and all preliminaries having 
been arranged, the marriage was celebrated with 
all proper splendour on the 2l8t of November, 

As a proof of the effect produced by her 
mother's representations, we quote here the fol- 
lowing letter from the Princess Sophia Dorothea — 
which must have been written between her be- 
trothal and marriage — to her intended mother-in- 
law, the Duchess Sophia of Hanover. The original, 
in French, is preserved in the British Museum.— 
Royal MSS. vol. clx. p. 230. , 

" Madam, 
^^ I have so much respect for my lord the Duke^ 
your husband, and for my lord my own fsither, 
that, in whatever manner they both may act in 
my behalf, I shall always be very content Your 
highness will do me, I know, the justice to believe 
so, and that no one can be more sensible than I 

VOL. I. H 2 


am, of the many marks of your goodness. I will 
with much care endeavour, all my life long, to 
deserve the same, and to make it appear to your 
highness, by my respect and very humble services, 
that you could not choose as a daughter, one, who 
knows better than myself how to pay to you what 
is due. In which duty I shall feel very great 
pleasure, and also in showing to you, by my sub- 
mission, that I am, 

" Madam, 
" Your Highness s very humble, 
" And very obedient servant, 

« S. D. 
" At Zelle, the 21st of October, 1682." 

The Crown Prince did not bring home his bride 
till the 11th of December, when the festivities 
that had taken place at Zelle were completely 
thrown into the shade by the greater brilliancy of 
those that welcomed the royal couple to Hanover. 


State marriages and their consequences — Admirable conduct 
of the Princess Sophia Dorothea during the first years of 
her union — She gives birth to a son— "Wins the esteem of 
her father-in-law, and of his consort — Madame Pkten regards 
her with jealousy and hatred — Platen ennobled — His 
wife's fondness for display — Her intrigues — Her tyran- 
nical conduct to her maid — Curious specimen of charity 
at court — Madame Platen's first operations against the hap- 
piness of Sophia Dorothea — The Princess gives birth to a 
daughter— Madame Platen introduces her friend Mademoi- 
selle Schulenburg to the Crown Prince — She becomes hia 
mistress — The Prince neglects his wife — Madame Platen's 
arttul conduct towards the Princess — Death of M. Busche 
— Speedy marriage of his widow — Mademoiselle Knese- 
beck, lady in waiting on the Princess, invited to the wedding 
— Observes the Crown Prince and Mademoiselle Schulen- 
burg— His improper conduct. 


When we read, among the customs of any- 
distant people, of women not being allowed a 
voice in an engagement of such intense interest to 
them as marriage, we are apt to regard it as a 
monstrous abuse of power, betraying the deepest 
barbarism ; and when anything of a similar nature 
is proved to exist in the union of the sexes in our 
own vaunted state of civilization, the sympathy it 
excites amongst us for the victim, is only exceeded 
by our indignation against all who may be in any 
way instrumental in producing a state of things 
so unnatural. Nevertheless, this interference with 
the dearest privilege of woman is still much too 
often the firuitful source of connubial misery it has 
ever been, and certain classes of society have long 
existed, amongst whom it is scarcely possible that 



a marriage should be brought about solely by the 
mutual inclination of the parties. 

Of these classes we need now only point to the 
highest — comprising those persons whose alliances 
are affairs of state. Royal marriages, however, 
are in some respects better managed than they 
used to be,— opportunities being often allowed for 
so much of personal knowledge as may induce to 
the creation of feelings of affection. In times, 
happily gone by, princes entered into the married 
state, from politic views alone; we could point 
to numberless instances in the histories of the 
principal European nations, where the affections 
of the lady have been as little cared for as the 
length of her hair. She was handed over to her 
royal suitor by her parent or guardian, with no 
more inquiry into the state of her heart than 
would have been made had she been a statue in- 
tended to decorate his palace. 

Knowing this^ it is impossible to regard with 
any great degree of surprise, the profligacy for 
which the principal courts of Europe used to be 
famous. It is a natural result of so violent an 
outrage of the dearest emotions of the human 
heart, as a marriage without affection. The royal 


bride — usually disinclined to such a disposal of 
herself — soon finds out her real position. She is 
thought of only as a necessary appendage to the 
court. No union of sentiment is expected to 
exist between her and her consort : no bond of 
common interest connects them together. They 
become more and more indifferent to each other; 
the lady finds consolation in the admiration she 
can direct towards herself; in due time, one 
barrier after another is overthrown; she renders 
her name notorious for discreditable intrigues; 
and the persons among whom she moves 
become celebrated for their licentiousness and 

The Princess Sophia Dorothea was the victim 
of one of the most heartless of state marriages ; 
and if anything could have tended to place her in 
the same degraded state into which others of her 
order had sunk, the unceremonious manner in 
which she had been forced from the Prince who 
had interested her feelmgs, into the arms of ano- 
ther who must have been distasteful to her, was 
surely quite sufficient. But the Princess had re- 
ceived an admirable education under the eyes of 
a most exem])lary mother: this enabled her to 


submit with a becoming grace to the ¥dll of her 
parent, and after having submitted to it, to recon- 
cile herself as gracefully to the responsibilities, 
cares, and annoyances of her new position. 

The first years of her wedded life were marked 
by so striking an amiability, and so perfect a 
I)erformance of her duties as a wife, that not only 
did she gain the admiration of her husband, 
indeed quite as much affection as he was capa- 
ble of feeling, but created as much genuine 
regard in the hearts of his parents as they were 
likely to experience. To the duties of a wife 
were in due time added those of a mother, in the 
performance of which she put forth still stronger 
claims on the esteem of her consort and his family. 
The former seemed much gratified when the birth 
of an heir was made known to him, and he ex- 
pressed his satisfaction by devoting as much time 
. as he could spare to paying to the mother a few 
of those attentions that are usually looked upon 
by all affectionate husbands as matters of course. 
The son of the Crown Prince and Princess of 
Hanover, was bom at Hanover on the 30th of 
October, 1683, and was christened George 


The Bishop seemed charmed by the behaviour 
of his daughter-in-law ; her feminine innocence 
and womanly dignity contrasted refreshingly with 
the vice that flaunted before his eyes, in the gay 
and guilty creatures of the same sex, who basked 
in the sunshine of his favour. He could turn 
from the contemplation of his ambitious schemes, 
with an inexpressible enjoyment, in the observor 
tion of a young female, so genuine and unaffected, 
and gladly escape from the craft and subtlety of 
his petticoat counsellor, to breathe the pure and 
holy atmosphere that appeared to envelop the 
person of the aifectionate young mother and irre- 
proachable wife. 

He still continued in his court to ape the luxury 
that has made the age of Louis XIV. a proverb. 
He built with magnificence; he improved un- 
sparingly ; he lavished large sums in decorations ; 
and did all within his power to render his resi- 
dences worthy of a disciple of the grand monarque. 
Still there were times when, interested as he was 
in these favourite pursuits, he showed that he 
preferred the society of his admirable daughter-in- 

The Duchess Sophia also, immersed as she 


ehoise to appear in learned pursuits, contracted very 
tavourablesentimentstowardshersons consort. She 
continued both blind and deaf to everything tend- 
ing to place before her, in a proper light, the dis- 
gracefiil connexions of her husband, but she was 
not quite so insensible to the virtues of the 
Princess. The winning amiability of the fond 
mother made its wav to her heart— cold as it 
seemed to be to all endearing impressions — and 
even the absorbing interest which she gave to im- 
proving her pretensions to the throne of Great 
Britain, or her apparent devotion to the pursuit 
of philosophy under the auspices of the learned 
Leibnitz, failed in rendering her inattentive to the 
claims upon her regard which were being so irre- 
sistibly put forth by her daughter-in-law. 

It might be imagined, from this favourable 
state of things, that notwithstanding the unsatis- 
factory manner in which her married life had com- 
mehced, the consort of the Crown Prince of 
Hanover had a fair prospect of happiness before 
her. Yet this was very far from being the case. 
There was one who watched the felicity of the 
youthfiil mother with feelings similar to those ex- 
perienced by the arch-enemy when gazing on the 


happiness of our first parents ; and watched with 
the determination to destroy it. Unfortunately, 
her power was equal to her malice. 

It suited the views of Madame Platen to bring 
about a marriage between the eldest son of her 
in&tuated lover, and the only child of his brother, 
because the important advantages which must 
arise from it to the sovereign of Hanover, she was 
satisfied would be suitably acknowledged. In 
this she was not deceived. The Bishop rewarded 
her liberally, and ennobled her husband. The title 
of Baron in any of the minor German states, is 
not one conferring any extraordinary increase 
of dignity. We have heard of its having within 
our recollection been acquired by a London tailor, 
and there is every reason to believe that upwards 
of a century ago there was ofben less discrimina* 
tion exercised in the disposal of honours. In the 
French .court, which was so frequently the model 
of the German ones, vice might aspire to the 
highest distinctions in the gift of the crown, and 
scoundrel Dukes and demirep Duchesses were as 
common as unwholesome frmgi in a rank soiL It 
is at least to the credit of the sovereign of 
Hanover, that, in rewarding the deserts of 


M. Platen, or, more properly speaking, those 
of his wife, he conferred on him one of the lowest 
titles of nobility. 

This title, however, joined to the liberal pecu- 
niary gifts to her of the Bishop, and the large 
fortune the elevated and confidential position of 
the new Baron enabled him to accumulate, were 
sufficient inducements for the court favourite to 
adopt a style of living which threw the establish- 
ment of the wealthiest families in Hanover into 
the shade. Her liveries, equipages, and mansion, 
rivalled those of the sovereign. Her entertain- 
ments were of the most princely description, where 
expense was lavished without limit, and every 
luxury introduced that could attract around her 
the gay courtiers and the handsome young nobles 
of the duchy. Her dresses were more superb 
than ever, and she took care to surround herself 
with the most imposing evidences of a pride and 
ambition, that the more they were gratified the 
more intolerant they became in their preten- 

It was well known in Hanover that the so- 
vereign was not the only person who obtained 
her favours. Her love of admiration was only 


equalled by her inclination for intrigue, and her 
obsequious husband found himself obliged to en- 
tertain at his table a continued succession of his 
wife's lovers, and it might so happen some two or 
three at a time, to none of whom — however gra- 
cious the lady might be — was he ever known to 
forget that it was necessary he should keep up 
before them the amiable character of a host. 
Many anecdotes were in circulation respecting her 
profligacy, but these the reader can dispense with. 
Her jealousy was not less conspicuous, and it was 
often manifested in a manner that showed how 
reckless was her malice when once aroused 
by it. 

She possessed in her establishment a female 
attendant of an agreeable appearance, named 
Use. On one occasion, owing to the negligence 
of the servants, the Bishop entered her house 
unperceived by the garden door, and as he met 
the girl in an ante-room, he prevented her giving 
the alarm to her mistress, desimg to know where 
she was to be found, that he might surprise her. 
Unluckily Madame Platen came unexpectedly 
into the apartment, and caught her pretty do- 
mestic so close to her royal lover that she felt 

112 MEMorns of 

assured tliere must be some secret understand- 
ing between them. Though burning with hatred 
and rage, she managed to conceal her feel- 
ings till her sovereign had taken his departure. 
Then her wrath burst forth like a torrent on the 
head of the innocent girl, whom she accused of 
every abominable crime ; and although Use, in the 
most earnest manner, asserted her innocence, and 
begged for mercy, her mistress expressed a resolu- 
tion of inflicting a terrible punishment. 

The poor girl was immediately thrown into pri- 
son on some trumpery accusation : from this she 
ultimately got released by making known her de- 
termination of appealing to the Bishop in her 
favour. It so happened that he had left the 
duchy on a tour. Use might have had to lie in 
prison till his return, but her persecutor, satisfied 
her vengeance by inflicting on her the most public 
act of disgrace. The poor girl, was drummed out 
of the town ; and although the respectable families 
were well satisfied of her innocence, they stood in 
such fear of the power possessed by the wife of 
the prime minister, and the unscrupulous uses they 
knew she could put it to, that she was unable to 
obtain any situation within the territory of Ha- 


over. She, however, made her case known to her 
sovereign at the earliest opportunity ; yet the only 
recognition he afforded her of the injustice he was 
well aware she had received, was a trifling pecu- 
niary present, and a hint that it would be better 
for her to leave his dominions. She subsequently 
found her way to Zelle, where her story having 
been told to the amiable Duchess Eleonore, she 
was enabled to secure for herself an honourable 

Among the numerous characters that the Baron 
Platen's lady aspired to support, that of benefactress 
to the poor was one which she assumed in a style 
so peculiarly original, that it deserves the fullest 
publicity. It had long been whispered that she 
secretly suffered from a distressing malady which 
had made its appearance after the birth of her 
fii-st child, and that she had had recourse to the 
most costly remedies without deriving from them 
the slightest benefit. Among other things she 
had been recommended the luxurious indulgence 
of a milk bath every morning, and in this she per- 
sisted for a considerable period ; but to establish 
her reputation for charity, after she had sufficiently 
laved her diseased body in the milk, she was so 

VOL. I. I 


benevolent as always to have it distribated to the 
poor, with an adequate portion of bread. 

We have said that it suited the views of this artftil 
woman to bring about a marriage between the heir 
of the sovereign of Hanover, and the heiress of the 
Duke of Zelle, but she began to perceive within a 
year or two afterwards, that it did not suit her 
views to allow them to live happily together ; and 
having made this discovery, she put forth all the 
resources of her extraordinary genius for mischief, 
to create between them so much ill-feeling as 
would render their society mutually intolerable. To 
this she was led not only by the strong desire hei*. 
evil spirit felt to mar the happiness she could not 
fail to observe, but by a feeling of jealousy for the 
superiority of the object of her dislike she could 
not fail to feel. 

The wife of the prime minister had long reigned 
at court the most beautiinl and the most superbly 
dressed of ^1 the ladies who appeared ^there, till 
the arrival of the youthful consort of the Crown 
Prince, whose fresh and innocent beauty, and 
matchless taste, deprived the garish attractions of 
the ambitious wanton, of the admiration she had 
hitherto enjoyed unchallenged. Nor could it 


be denied that the Princess was as far superior to 
her in personal advantages as she was in rank. 
The general recognition of this, and the acknow- 
ledgment which forced its way into her own mind, 
created a jealousy as intense as that which had so 
nearly ruined the luckless Use : but she well knew 
that the object of it was in a very different posi- 
tion to that in which her disgraced domestic had 
been placed, and that it would now be necessary 
to employ other means for securing her revenge 
than those of which she had then so daringly 
availed herself. 

Her first operations commenced with the Crown 
Prince. He had hitherto kept up the decencies 
of married life pretty well. Possibly he may have 
felt some slight admiration for the beauty and the 
virtues of his consort : but his was an unstable 
mind, and his heart had little sympathy with the 
numberless exquisite feelings that arise out of do- 
mestic intercourise. He was frequently with the 
army, and after the first powerful sense of the worth 
of the admirable being he had secured, had worn ofl^ 
it was evident he preferred the stirring life of the 
camp, to the blessed tranquillity of home. His 
father's mistress began by flattering his foibles and 



administering to his vanity, and her sister was again 
thrown in his way as mach as possible; but Madame 
Busche wanted talent to regain the influence she 
had once acquired over the Crown Prince, for not- 
withstanding her endeavours to attract him, he 
continued indifierent to her fiiscinations. 

Such was the state of things at the period of 
the birth of the second child of the Princess Sophia 
Dorothea, whose confinement was thought by the 
scheming adventuress who had gained so prominent 
a place at the court of her father-in-law, an excellent 
opportunity for carrying out her designs upon the 
Prince. The daughter of the Princess was bom in 
the year 1686, and was christened Sophia Dorothea. 

Finding that her sister bad ceased to charm her 
royal lover, Madame Platen determined on placing 
in his way a young female of her acquaintance, 
whose fresher attractions might have a better 
chance of success. The person to whom she chose 
to play the part of procuress was Ermengard Me- 
lusina von Schulenburg, who was bom in 1667. 
Her appearance at this period was particularly 
prepossessing, as with considerable pretensions 
to good looks, she appeared so guileless and mo- 
dest, that it was scarcely possible to withhold 


admiration. She was well drilled by her pa- 
troness, for under her apparent gentleness and 
simplicity was a nature very ready to devote her- 
self to infamv, to fulfil the ambitious dreams that 
were artfully instilled into her, of having a princely 

Mademoiselle Schulenburg, having received her 
instructions, was introduced to the Crown Prince* 
She had had the benefit of a clever teacher, and, 
moreover, she showed herself an apt pupil. The 
Prince was much gratified with her. Her assumed 
artlessness and her very engaging manners made 
a favourable impression upon him. Her figure 
and features were no less seductive to one whose 
taste was far from being refined, and he soon 
made it apparent that he took a more than ordi* 
nary pleasure in her society. 

The Princess learned that her consort was so 
engaged with important business^ that she could 
rarely count upon the satidfoction of an interview 
with him of half an hour. She did not learn that 
the hours wherein she was dedicating herself 
with all a mother s devotion to the nurture of her 
little girl, anxiously expecting the arrival of her 
husband to cheer her in her confinement, he was 


engaged in taking equestrian excursions with Made- 
moiselle Schulenburg, and in expressing to her a 
degree of admiration to which it was an insult to 
her to listen. Yet she not only did listen, — she, in 
her turn, expressed as warm an admiration of her 
admirer. They were generally accompanied by the 
lady of the Baron Platen and her sister — the latter 
amiably affording her assistance to her young rival 
in fascinating her royal lover — and one or two 
male confederates- 

The flatteries and blandishments of the women 
were unsparingly employed; allusion was con- 
stantly being made to his gallantry in the field, 
till it was not their fault if the Prince failed to 
think himself a Marlborough ; and he was quite as 
plainly told that he was equally irresistible to the 
ladies as to the enemy, which the blushing Melusina 
so clearly confirmed, that he must have possessed 
a great deal more sense than belonged to him, 
had he- doubted his complete omnipotence with 
the sex. 

When it was found that the charms of the in- 
nocent and gentle protegie of the lady of the 
Baron Platen had produced their due effect on 
the Crown Prince, that grand plotter sought to 


work out the next stage of her operations by 
making, through the means of this intrigue, what 
ettects she could upon the Princess. 

The lady of the prime minister outwardly paid 
the daughter-in-law of her sovereign the most 
devoted respect, and even affected a considerable 
degree of attachment to her person, yet, in the 
most artful manner, availed herself of every op- 
j)ortunity covertly to wound her feelings. The 
Princess regarded her with that intuitive aversion 
with which the truly virtuous woman always looks 
upon the immodest of her sex. She was gifted 
with a superior intelligence, and soon iathomed 
the favourite's real character, and she invariably 
treated her with a proud civility that kept her 
at her distance — and made her feel it. This 
goaded her still more, and sometimes led her to 
utter sarcasms, which were retaliated by her su- 
perior with an intensity of scorn that humbled her 
to the dust. 

The Princess was attended by a young lady, 
named Knesebeck, who was devotedly attached 
to her, and enjoyed her confidence. To her the 
young mother remarked the rare and hurried 
visits of her consort, and speculated as to the real 


cause of this apparent negligence. Her attendant 
endeavoured to find apologies for the Prince, on 
the score of his numerous avocations; but some 
prophetic sense of evil seemed to intimate to the 
neglected wife that mischief was impending. She 
was restless and uncomfortable; and continued 
her motherly duties to her two infimts, while pur- 
suing a train of unpleasant reflections. 

About this period, the lady of the Baron Platen 
paid her a complimentary visit, and after a liberal 
show of professions of respect and good-will, she 
proceeded, in her usual crafty manner, to mention 
the parties she had enjoyed with the Crown Prince 
and the beautiful Mademoiselle Schulenburg: never 
failing to dilate on the extraordinary attractions of 
that young lady, and on the very evident gratifi- 
cation the Crown Prince seemed to take in her 
society. Then, having planted a dagger in the 
heart of the virtuous wife, she (ook her leave 
with the same profusion of. hollow compliments 
with which she had entered. 

About this time MadameBusche lost her husband, 
but it seemed that she had an invincible repug- 
nance to appearing at court in the unbecoming 
garb, called widow*s weeds ; therefore, in an in- 


credibly short time after M. Busche's decease, 
she gave every possible encouragement to the 
addresses of General Weyke, and both parties 
agreeing to unite their destinies, her powerful 
sister determined on celebrating their marriage 
with a degree of splendour which should be the 
talk of the whole duchy.* 

The Princess was invited to these nuptials, but 
the invitation was given in a way that was certain 
of being declined. Nevertheless, though she would 
not go herself, she insisted on Mademoiselle ELnese- 
beck attending. This the confederates had not 
anticipated. The Princess's attendant, however, 
was received with much politeness, and she found 
that the most distinguished characters amongst 

"** The second husband of this woman was Major-general 
von Weyke. Her children were one son and one daughter. 
The latter, Frederica Charlotte, was married to lieutenant- 
General von Wendt, by whom she had Amelia Sophia Mary- 
Ann, married to Adam Gottlieb von Wallmoden ; but Madame 
Wallmoden is better known to the English reader as the 
Countess of Yarmouth, mistress of George II. The women 
of this family constituted a strumpetocracy, that for three 
generations monopolized the amorous attentions of the head 
of the house of Brunswick-Luaeburg. 


the guests were the Crown Prince and Made- 
moiselle Schulenburg. 

She saw as much of the entertainment as she 
wanted, and observed a great deal more of the 
conduct of the Prince and Mademoiselle Schu- 
lenburg than was sufficient to satisfy her that a de- 
gree of intimacy existed between them it was dis- 
creditable in any of the parties to encourage. 
She did not return to the palace till very late ; 
nevertheless she found the Princess waiting her 
arrival, in extreme anxiety to learn the result of 
her observations. Mademoiselle Enesebeck softened 
her intelligence as much as she could ; still there 
was sufficient in it to increase the jealous feelings 
the wily enemy of her mistress had created. 

The Princess Sophia Dorothea could not refrain 
from manifesting to her husband the uneasiness 
he was exciting by his improper conduct; but 
.the Prince, like all ignorant and vain men, grew 
sullen upon being told of his misdoings. ^He con- 
trasted the gloom and dissatisfaction with which 
he was received on those now rare occasions, 
when he entered the apartments of his consort^ 
with the pleasantry and adulation that greeted his 
frequent appearances in the gay mansion of the 



Platens ; and the latter was too much to his taste 
not to be prefeiTed. The natural consequence 
was, that he still more openly neglected the 
Princess, and still more conspicuously paid atten- 
tions to Mademoiselle Schulenburg. 

The dangerous woman who had already done 
so much mischief, had full knowledge of the man- 
ner in which the consort of the Crown Prince 
felt the neglect from which she was suffering, 
and took care, by sly insinuations and sarcastic 
allusions to the Princess in his hearing, to preju- 
dice him* still more strongly against her, and 
encourage him in the line of conduct he was pur- 
suing, whilst to the Princess her manners became 
daily more annoying and insulting. To her sove- 
reign she did not fail also to represent the con- 
duct of his daughter-in-law in the most disadvan- 
tageous light, and did all she could to turn her 
and her mother into ridicule, as upstarts who had 
no legitimate right to the titles they possessed. 
But though his Serene Highness, by having his 
jealousy of the Duke of Wolfenbiittel, who was 
represented to him as being secretly favoured by 
the Duchess Eleonore, played upon, might still 
be brought to entertain opinions derogatory to the 


** madame'' of whom he had so long been in the 
habit of speaking slightingly, he entertained too 
high an opinion of the worth of her daughter to 
pay much attention to the inuendoes of his artful 


The Konigsxnark family — ^The two Konigsmarks — Charles 
John, the elder brother, in England — Hears of the great 
heiress, the Lady Elizabeth Percy — His reception at Paris 
— Accompanies the Knights of Malta, and distinguishes him- 
self in an expedition against the Turks — His daring adventure 
at a bull-fight in jMadrid— Philip Christopher, the younger 
Count, in London to complete his education — Lady Eliza- 
beth Percy married whilst a child to the Earl of Ogle — 
Becomes a widow— Charles John Konigsmark offers him- 
self as a suitor — Is rejected by her family — Groes to Tangier 
His exploits there — Returns to England on hearing of the 
marriage of the young widow to Mr. Thomas Thynn — Tom 
of Ten Thousand— Captain Yraatz and his associates — 
Murder of Mr. Thynn — Count Charles John tried at the 
Old Bailey — His brother brought forward as a witness — 
He is acquitted, and the others are hanged — His subsequent 
adventures and death — Count Philip Christopher leaves 
England — Appears at Hanover — Resumes his acquaintance 
with the Princess Sophia Dorothea — Their mutual gratifica- 
tion in each other s society — Attempt of Madame Platen 
to excite suspicion in the Bishop regarding the intimacy of 
the Count with his daughter-in-law — Its failure — She pre- 
tends great admiration of Konigsmark — Her scheme for 
making the Crown Prince jealous of bis consort — The em- 
broidered glove. 


The name of Kiinigsmark is so closely con- 
nected with that of Sophia Dorothea, that it would 
be impossible to write a satisfactory history of 
one, without entering a good deal into detail when 
mentioning the other. The celebrity of the 
family also furnishes a more than ordinary claim 
on the reader s attention. Many of the name made 
themselves famous in the wars of Sweden, but we 
need go no further back than to John Christopher 
K(5nigsmark, who was bom in 1600. He held the 
commission of a field officer, in the military ser- 
yice of Gustavus Adolphus, by the time he was 
thirty years old, and had attained the rank of 
general in 1648, when he took Prague, and in the 
plunder, recovered the famous silver book, or 
Gospels of Bishop Ulphilas. He was rewarded 


with the lucrative appointment of governor of the 
Duchies of Bremen and Verden, ceded to the 
King of Sweden by the Emperor of Austria, — was 
raised to the dignity of Count at the Coronation 
of Christina, in 1650, and died at Stockholm in 
1663, leaving two sons : — the younger, Otho Wil- 
liam, was bom in 1639, and at an early age entered 
the French service, in which he rose to the dignity 
of Marshal ; but he was forced to a change of mas- 
terson war breakingout betweenSwedenandFrance 
in 1672, and six years later, Charles XI. testi- 
fied the high appreciation in which he was held, by 
making him Governor of Swedish Pomerania. 

The elder brother, Conrad Christopher, also held 
a commission in the Swedish army, in which 
he rose to the rank of master of the artillery. 
He then entered the service of Holland, and 
having-attained the rank of lieutenant-general, 
was killed at the siege of Bonne, in 1673. By 
his wife, Maria Christina Wrangel, be had two 
sons, Charles John, and Philip Christopher; and 
two daughters, Maria Aurora, and Amelia Wilhel- 
mina ; all of whom survived him. These details 
are rendered necessary by the mistakes into which 
nearly every author has fallen into, who has alluded 


to either of these sons of Conrad Christopher 
Konigsmark: some writing, as though but one 
Count of that name existed, and making the most 
singular blunders, by confiising the deeds of one 
brother with those of the other. Charles John, 
the eldest son, commenced his travels when quite 
a boy, accompanied by his uncle. He was in 
England in the year 1674, when it is probable he 
first heard of the young lady who was destined to 
be the cause of so much discredit to his name. 
This was the lady Elizabeth Percy, bom 16th 
January, 1667 ; the infant daughter of Joscelin, 
eleventh earl of Northumberland, who dying at 
Turin in 1670, in his twenty-sixth year, leaving no 
other surviving issue, and his widow three years 
later, having united herself to Mr. Ralph Mon- 
tagu, the English ambassador at the Court of 
France, Lady Elizabeth, as the heiress of the Per- 
cies, became the most splendid match in England, 
and on the marriage of her mother, was brought up 
at the magnificent family mansion, Petworth in Sus- 
sex, under the care of her grandmother, the widow 
of Algernon, Earl of Northumberland, who was 
expected to bequeath her young charge a con- 
siderable addition to her already enormous fortune. 

VOL. I. K 


The vast prospects of the young heiress became a 
subject of popular gossip long before she entered 
her teens, and many eager matchmakers were 
striving to secure so welcome a prize for their own 
families. The advantage of such a marriage may 
also have presented itself to the glowing imagina* 
tion of young Konigsmark, and this idea he may 
have cherished till his mind became inflamed with 
the golden visions it held out to him. 

From England, Charles John Kouigsmark pro- 
ceeded to France, where the reputation of his 
uncle, Count Otho William, his handsome face and 
figure, and brilliant accomplishments, secured him 
a splendid reception at Court He soon became 
a favourite at Versailles, and established a reputar 
tion for gallantry at Paris, which was subsequently 
of consfderable service to him. He was in Italy 
in 1677, and having made a visit to Malta, in the 
• true spirit of adventure, which was then almost as 
prominent as in the Middle Ages, he volunteered 
to accompany the Knights in a cruise^ and in an 
engagement with a Turkish vessel, he was the 
first to board the enemy — a forwardness^ however 
which had nearly cost him dear, for he received a 
wound in the foot, and by some accident fell into 


the sea. He greatly distinguished himself on this 
and other occasions, and having had enough of the 
Knights of Malta, he continued his travels, visiting 
, Rome, Venice, and Genoa, thence proceeding 
through Portugal, he went to Spain, and was aa 
honoured guest at the court of Madrid, at a period 
of much festivity, it being the marriage of King 
Charles II., with his first wife, Maria Louisa of 
Orleans. Among his exploits in the Spanish me- 
tropolis was one extremely characteristic of his 
fearless spirit. On the occasion of a grand bull- 
fight, at which all the rank and fashion of the 
kingdom were present^ he. made one of six 
knights — gorgeously caparisoned and mounted 
on the most valuable horses — ^who had volunteered 
to fight the most furious bull, from no other 
motive than the desire of pleasing some favourite 
lady. In his first encounter, the handsome young 
Swede was wounded in the leg, and his horse was 
gored in the most frightful manner. The lady 
for whom he encountered this danger, stood up 
and waved her handkerchief and the people en- 
couraged him with their plaudits. These signs of 
approval had such an effect upon him, that though 
almost on the point of fainting from pain and loss 

K 2 


of blood, he resolutely adyanced with his sword, 
made one stroke at the infuriated animal, and was 
then carried by \m attendants senseless out of the 
arena, in the conviction of every Spaniard present, 
the most gallant cavalier that had ever visited their 

He seems to have visited his family as soon as 
he had recovered from this adventure ; and sub- 
sequently took his younger brother, Philip Chris- 
topher, whom we mentioned in a previous chapter 
as a very early acquaintance, and presumed lover 
of Sophia Dorothea, to England, for the purpose 
of there finishing his education. They sailed 
from Gothenburg in Sweden, and after a very 
stormy voyage landed at Hull, in the year 1681. 
Count Charles John presented himself at Wind- 
sor, bearing a letter of introduction from his own 
sovereign to Charles II., who, however, had no 
doubt heard of his young visitor before. He ap- 
pejtrs to have taken as great a liking to him as 
the King of France, and that this was not so 
evanescent as was customary with the likings of 
the merry monarch, we shall have occasion pre- 
sently to show. The Count placed his brother at 
a celebrated academy in London, kept by M. 


Faubert,* and though a M. Hanson was still re- 
tained as his governor, the elder Count made the 
most liberal arrangements that he should be pre- 
pared for Oxford, 

The rank and fortxme of the Konigsmarks ob- 
tained them access to the most distinguished fami- 
lies in England ; and whilst the younger brother 
was diligently pursuing his studies, the elder had 
opportimities of becoming further acquainted with 
the wealthy lieiress, whose sterling attractions 
appear to have effaced the impression made on 
his heart by the dark-eyed Spaniard, for whom he 
had risked his life. But during his absence some 
changes had taken place, which rendered her lady- 
ship still more the public talk. She had little 
more than passed her twelfth year when the in- 
trigues of the various competitors for her hand 
were for a time put a stop to by her marriage, in 
1679, with Henry Cavendish, Earl of Ogle, only 
son of Henry, second DukeS)f Newcastle. Unfortu- 
nately, the bridegroom died in the following year, 
leaving his interesting widow a greater prize than 

"** It is described as situated at the top of the Haymarket ; 
the locality, no doubt, is indicated by a court in the neigh- 
bourhood that still bears the name of Foubert. 


eyer, und consequently more than ever the ob- 
ject of rival family intrignes and speculations. 

It was in this state of things that the elder of 
the two Kbnigsmarks entered the field, as a suitor 
for the youthful widow's hand. He had no diffi- 
culty in making himself personally known to her, 
and may have imagined that his reputation for 
gallantry, his fine figure, and captivating manners, 
would produce all the effect on her unsophisticated 
heart, that had already rewarded his attentions to 
more womanly beauties ; but whether she afforded 
him encouragement, as has been assumed, or not» 
it is certain her family gave him none. Notwith- 
Standing his brilliant reputation, and the fiivour in 
which he was held by so many kings, the Dowager 
Countess looked upon him as an adventurer, and 
very plainly gave him to understand she would 
not entertain his pretensions. 

The Tangier expedition was at this time about to 
sail from' England, and in no slight degree inflamed 
by his rejection, the Count sought an appointment 
to join it, but not obtaining the encouragement he 
anticipated, he went to Paris, where he receivedfrom 
the French King the command of the regiment of 
Furstenburg. This reward, however, was not suffi- 


cient to restrain his desire to join in the war against 
the Moors. He hastened to Spain, and thence 
crossed to Tangier, where he arrived just in time 
to take part with the garrison in a sortie, in which 
he distinguished himself, at the head of a mere 
handful of volunteers like himself, in driving the 
Moors from the walls of the fortress, till they 
were forced to fling themselves into the sea. 
Pacific negociations, somewhat too soon for him, 
stopped the fighting, and the Moors being no 
longer enemies, the adventurer varied his enter- 
tainment by joining in a cruise against the Alge- 
rines. His exploits were, however, suddenly 
brought to a conclusion by news he received from 
England, which appears so much to have disturbed 
his ideas as to have excited him to undertake an 
adventure of a totally different character to those 
which had made the name of Konigsmark so 
widely celebrated. 

Though rejected by the family of Lady Ogle, 
the Count was far from giving up a pursuit which 
held out to him such brilliant advantages. But 
whilst he was attacking the Moors and the Alge- 
rines, her ladyship's friends were busily employ- 
ed securing her a second husband, with no more 


reference to the aspiring foreigner, than if snch 
a person had never existed. This second bride-^ 
groom was found in the person of Thomas Thynn, 
from his wealth called " Tom of Ten Thousand," 
of Longleat, in Wiltshire, a member of Parlia* 
nient, a man of somewhat debauched habits, and 
a frequent associate of the Duke of Monmouth, 
whose suffrages he had secured by presenting his 
grace \iith a set of Oldenburg coach-horses. The 
wedding took place in the summer of 1681. 
For such intelligence Count Konigsmark was 
quite unprepared, and with all the recklessness 
and all the looseness of principle that characterize 
too many of the heroes of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, he resolved on getting rid of his more suc- 
cessfiil rival, who seems to have aggravated his 
offence by venturing upon some personalities re- 
flecting on the Count. At the Court of Charles 
II., and in many other courts of Europe, the code 
of morals in use* would have placed Count Ko- 
nigsmark's plan for gaining a wealthy heiress in a 
very different degree of criminality to that in 
which it would now be regarded ; but however 
completely we must condemn such conduct as 
savage and revolting, we are bound to take into 


consideration whatever may be even in the 
slightest degree excusatory in reference to it. 

The Count arrived in London early in the year 
1G82, bringing in his suite a countryman, styled 
Captain Vraatz, who was devoted to him — a fellow 
of the most dauntless courage, who, believing his 
patron had been wronged by Mr. Thynn, was 
ready to undertake any desperate adventure in his 
behalf. The Count took private lodgings, remain- 
ing incognito, as he afterwards stated, on account 
of some cutaneous disorder he had contracted during 
his campaign in Morocco ; he saw no one but his 
younger brother and his tutor, his doctor, Vraatz, 
and one or two attendants. The Captain strove 
to fasten a quarrel upon Mr. Thynn, that he might 
have an opportunity of avenging the affi-ont he 
considered he had put upon his friend, by de- 
priving him of a large fortune ; but that gentle- 
man did not appear inclined to give it him. He 
then procured the assistance of a Lieutenant John* 
Stem, a needy scoundrel, and George Borodzycz, 
or Borosky, a Pole, who had come from Sweden 
with horses for the Count; to be ready, well- 
armed, to defend him, whilst he engaged Mr. 
Thynn, whom he had determined should fight 


him, wherever he might be fomid It is impos- 
sible to avoid the inference, that the Count was 
privy to these proceedings, but it has also been 
hinted that the young lady secretly encouraged 
him, and was as anxious as himself to be rid of 
her husband.* Arms were brought to his lodg- 
ings, and inquiries were made at his instigation, 
which certainly go far to prove he anticipated a 
catastrophe : but this may have been as a result 
to a regular hostile meeting between his rival and 
the captain. Vraatz's seconds were much too un- 
scrupulous for going to work in an honourable 
manner, for having watched a long time, they were 
all on horseback when they met Mr. Thynn alone 
in his carriage, which the Duke of Monmouth 
had left scarcely a moment before. The vehicle 
was stopped by the Captain, and the Pole fired a 
musquetoon or blunderbuss into it> possibly pre- 
. maturely, as he seems to. have been a half-witted 
sort of fellow.f ^ 

Mr. Thynn was dangerously wounded, and the 

* Swifl, in some obscure lines, plainly intimates this in the 
famous " Wmdsor Prophecy." 

f Captain Vraatz, before and after his condemnation, main- 
tained that the Pole had mistaken his orders. 


confederates rode away. As he shortly afterwards 
died, such a deed committed in the dusk of the 
evening, in so public a thoroughfiire as Pall Mall, 
created a great sensation in the metropolis. Pur- 
suit was soon made after the assassins by the 
powerful friends of the deceased, who possessed 
too much influence to allow of such a deed, even 
in those unsettled times, escaping the cognizance 
of justice. All the parties were apprehended. Count 
Kbuigsmark, learning the excitement that pre- 
vailed on the subject, endeavoured to leave the 
country ; but he was overtaken at Gravesend, and 
was imprisoned previously to being brought to the 
bar of the Old Bailey to take his trial as an ac- 
cessory before the fact, with the principal cri- 

When it became known that a foreign noble- 
man of such distinction as Count Konigsmark 
was in Newgate on a. charge of being concerped 
in the murder of the wealthy Mr. Thynn, the 
public mind was quite in a ferment. The cha- 
racter of " Tom of Ten Thousand" was a very in- 
different one. It was known that he had seduced 
a lady on a promise of marriage, before his nuptials 
with the youthful widow of Lord Ogle, whose 


hand, by the way, he had secured in a niianner 
far from creditable, as he had entered into a bond 
for five hundred pounds, which he had not iwiiiU 
to one George Potter and liis wife, to obtain the 
young lady by their assistance.* Nevertheless 
liis kinsmen were extremely desirous of pursuing 
every one concerned in his assassination to the 
gallows. Count Konigsmark, however, was not 
\\ithout powerful friends, though the tide of po- 
pular indignation ran very strong against liini. 
Charles II. was unwilling so brave an officer 
should be lost to society by the interposition of 
the hangman, and the sovereign's vnshes were 
seconded by many other persons high in autho- 

The trial came on on the 28 th of February 
IG82, and every effort was made to inflame the 
minds of the jury against the Count Among the 
witnesses were Hanson, the tutor of the young 
CountT and his pupil. The former underwent a 
long and most severe examination, and he cer- 
tainly strove, as much as man could, that his evi- 

* They brought an action against his executors for its re« 
covery; but, afler a great deal of litigation and different 
judgments in several courts, they were denied their claim. 


dence should throw as little discredit on the name 
of Konigsmark as possible. Frequent reference was 
made to the Count's brother — that he was sick of 
an ague — that he had been on a visit to the Duke 
of Richmond, and that he was about leaving M. Fou- 
bert's academy to go to Oxford. The accused, as a 
recommendation to the jury, dwelt on his attach- 
ment to Protestant England, stating his femily 
were Protestants, and that he had brought his 
brother to England, that he might the better be 
instructed in that religion, and educated in a 
proper knowledge of her free and enlightened in- 

The young Count testified only to the fiict ad- 
vanced in the defence, that his brother had a de- 
sign of purchasing horses in England, for which 
reason the Pole had been sent for. 

" My lord," said he, " I had a bill of ex- 
change." . 

"For how much money, my lord?" inquired 
the Lord Chief Justice Pemberton. 

" For a thousand pistoles to buy horses ; and 
he has bought one horse, and was to buy more T*" * 

* ** Trjal and condemnatiou of George Borosky, alias Boratzi, 
Christopher Vraatz, and John Stem> for the barbarous murder 



The Lord Chief Justice laid considerable stress 
on this ; in fact, notwithstanding the strenuous 
exertions of the Duke of Monmouth, Sir Thomas 
Thynn, Lord Cavendish, and other friends of the 
deceased, his lordship evidently favoured Count 
Kouigsmark, the result of which was seen in the 
verdict, for the Count ^vas acquitted, and the three 
confederates ordered for execution. Even after 
the verdict, every effort was made to render the 
name of Konigsmark odious. The convicted mur- 
derers were visited in prison by learned divines, 
and a great deal of pains taken to induce them to 
confess.* The Pole and the lieutenant did make 
what is called a confession, but each is so tinged by 
superstition, and coloured by exaggeration, that 
very little credit can be placed in it. The captain 
was formed of different stufl^ on whom the exhor- 
tations of Drs. Burnet and Homeck could make 
no impression. 

of Thomas Thjnn, Esq., in Pall Mall ; together with the trial 
of Charles John Count Coningsmark, as accessory before the 
fact of the same murder>" foUo 1682. 

* Dr. Burnet, the historian, and Dr. Homeck, minister of 
the German chapel in the Savoy, frequently visited the cri- 
minals, and published the result of their observations and con- 



" Vraatz," says Evelyn, ** told a friend of mine 
who accompanied him to the gallows, and gave 
him some advice, that he did not value dying a 
rush, and hoped and believed God wotdd deal with 
him like a gentleman,"^ — an anecdote extremely 
characteristic of this desperado. To the last he 
denied that Count Konigsmark had engaged him 
to put Mr. Thynn out of the way, and soundly 
rated his coadjutors for what he called their Ij'ing 
confessions. Cliristian burial was allowed the 
lieutenant. The Pole, however, did not profit by 
his statement, for he was hung in chains at Mile 
End ; whilst the fearless captain, after his execu- 
tion, lay in state in a rich coffin lined with lead. 
The body was then embalmed and transported to 
his own country. 

Count Konigsmark found himself obliged to 
give up all thoughts of the young lady, for whom 
he had so committed his reputation. Shortly after 
his acquittal he was in Paris, where he seems to 
have been as much caressed as ever.* It has 

* Some of his biographers have been extremely indulgent 
to his memory. See Moreri> Grand Dictionnaire Historique» 
Amsterdam 1740^ and the Grand Dictionnaire Universel 


been stated that Lord Cavendish sent him a chal- 
lenge, and they were to have met at Calais, but 
that the Count's conscience made him decline the 
meeting.* There exists, however, no evidence of 
any such challenge having been sent, and Count 
Konigsmark was not the man to have refused 
meeting any one. In 1683 he returned to his 
estates, but as he could not endure inactivity, he 
was soon found sharing in the dangers of active 
warfare. He was wounded at the siege of Cam- 
bray in the same year. He subsequently accom- 
panied his regiment to Spain, where he displayed 
his usual gallantr}' at the siege of Verona, and 
on several other occasions. He seems here to 
have sighed for a change, for m 1686 he is found 
accompanying his uncle, Coimt Otho William, to 
the Morea, then a great source of attraction to 
military adventurers. He distinguished himself at 

* Granger and Pennant, in their notices of the Count, hare 
fallen into many mistakes ; Horace Walpole, in his Reminis- 
cences of the Court of George II., and in his Memoirs of the 
last ten years of that sovereign's reign, commits the error of 
confounding Count Charles John with Count Philip Christo- 
pher Konigsmark, and this has been repeated in almost every 
subsequent allusion to the name. 


thie sieges of Nayarin and Modon, and at the battle 
of Argos, where he so exerted himself as to bring 
on an attack of pleurisy, of which he died in a few 
days. Count Otho William died about two years 

By the deaths of his elder brother and uncle, 
the young Count Konigsmark inherited great 
wealth. He left England soon after the trial of 
his brother, and travelled with his tutor in France 
and other countries. With his own iamily, and 
that of Brunswick-Liineburg, there had long ex- 
isted a cordial intimacy ; and^ therefore, soon after 
he became his own master he presented himself 
at the Court of Hanover, received from its sove- 
reign the appointment of colonel of the guards, 
and in the consort of the Crown Prince resumed 
his acquaintance with his juvenile friend at Zelle. 

It should be remembered, that the young 
Count had become not only one of the handsomest 
men of his time, and was possessed of immense 
weialth that made the very costly style in which 
he lived the theme of general admiration ; but 
that he was a remarkably intelligent man, ap- 
parently a finished gentleman, a gracefril courtier, 

VOL. I. L 

146 3fEM0IRS OF 

and a brave and Iskilfiil officer. Periiape the 
Princess Sophia Dorothea found pleasure in his 
society in recalling her childish days with all 
their innocent delights, possibly she was enter- 
tained with the result of the observations the 
Count had made during his travels, and it may be 
she found a more than ordinary satisfaction in 
listening to his witty remarks, for making which 
he was celebrated, on the persons by whom she 
was surrounded ; but it is certain they appeared 
to eujoy a mutual gratification in each other's 
society, and rarely met in public without enter- 
ing into long, and as it seemed to the spectators, 
interesting conversations. 

The Count had already distinguished himself 
in a manner that had brought him no slight de- 
gree of fame wherever he had shown himself. 
His handsome person, graceful manners, and 
sparkling conversation, had combined to make 
him a great favourite with both sexes ; but his 
principles were very unsettled, and his life was 
disgraced by a tendency to the licentiousness so 
common at this period. 

In Hanover, if the connexion of the elder 


Counfe in Mr. Thynn's murder gave his brother 
any uneasiness, it was not very visible. Not- 
withstanding the discredit that, it might be sup- 
posed, was attached to his name, he was no 
less witty in conversation among the gayest 
spirits of the gay circle in which he moved, 
and with the ladies was not the less readily re- 
cognised as the handsomest and most accom- 
plished gentleman who had come within their 
cogm'zance. It should, however, be borne in 
mind, that several years had elapsed since this 
guilty transaction had occurred. 

The Princess knew him only as a young no- 
bleman possessed of singular powers of pleasing, 
who had been intimate with her in her child- 
hood ; but even had news of the murder of Mr. 
Thyun reached her, and had any misunderstand- 
ing existed as to which of the two was the cri- 
minal Count Konigsmark) it was no difficult 
matter for the young Count to have convince 
her of his entire innocence. Let this have been 
as it may, it is certain that their intercourse was 
quite on the footing of old acquaintances. . But 
such familiarity could not long exist without 
attracting the attention of the busy vrife of the 

L 2 


prime minister. She thonght something might 
be made of it. She determined something should 
be made of it. 

It came to her knowledge that one morning 
the Count bad met the Princess on the staircase 
returning to lier apartments from an airing. She 
had just taken the young Prince into her arms, in* 
tending carrying him up stairs, but the Count, on 
observing this, insisted that the child was too 
heavy for the young mother, and gallantly per- 
sisted in taking the infant from her, notwithstand- 
ing her good-humoured attempts to retain him, and 
then preceded her, carrying him up stairs. With 
this incident the £Givourite proceeded at once to 
the Bishop, and after a due assortment of inuen- 
does and suspicions, she related the incident just 
described, but with such a colouring of her own as 
made it pregnant with suspicion. 

To her extreme surprise, the Bishop would 
scarcely listdn to it. He was too well satisfied of 
the excellence and purity of his daughter-in-law, 
to allow a doubt of her to be introduced into his 
mind by a source so discreditable as his own 
mistress, of whose evil life he was not altogether 
unaware, though partly from the influence of old 


associations) and partly from a fear she might do 
him much mischief were she provoked, he per- 
mitted her to take that active interest in his 
affairs she had so long assumed. He laughed at 
the incident as a pardonable piece of gallantry 
allowable to so old a friend as Count Kbnigsmark^, 
and, directing his informant's attention to some« 
thing else, dismissed the subject. 

Indignant, but not disconcerted, the wily m- 
triguante had recourse to other tactics. She pre- 
tended to take a vast deal of interest in the 
Count's welfare— sought his society, flattered 
him, and both by word and look expressed for 
him an extraordinary degree of admiration. ThQ 
Count was too finished a courtier, and too courtly 
a gallant, to receive such attentions from a beau- 
tiful woman without due acknowledgments. He 
returned her civilities, and seemed to entertain a 
proper appreciation of the notice she conferred upon 
him. Her next step was to appear cognizant of his 
intercourse with the consort of the Crown Prince^ 
iind prove to him she could afford him facilities 
for carrying it on. 

There chanced to be a 'masquerade at the 


palace, in ^hich the Count greatly distingaished 
himself by the talented manner in which he as- 
sumed different characters. The court circle were 
warm in their admiration of this successful piece 
of acting, and no one was more so than the lady of 
the Baron Yon Platen, who set no bounds to her 
eulogy. She seemed never so contented as when 
she could secure an interview with him, and skil- 
fully directed the conversatiou in such a manner 
as almost to force him to pay her compliments. 
She appeared very desirous of conducting the 
Count to the apartments of the Princess, which 
he at first declined^ on the score of having a prior 
engagement; but having prevailed on him to 
walk with her, she led him to the palace, and 
requested him to wait for her in an ante- 
room. Whilst there he received a message from 
the Princess to go to her apartments and pay his 

The Count was a man of the world, and was 
fully aware of the character of his new friend, 
therefore he was by no means pleased by this 
attempt of her's to become a coadjutor in his 
intimacy with the Princess. She made several 


eflTorts subsequently to repeat this manoeuvre, but 
Konigsmark was on his guard, and dexterously 
avoided them. Nevertheless, a short time after- 
wards, they were walking together in the gardens 
of the palace, when she induced him to enter a 
pavilion, on the pretence that she wanted to ad- 
just a part of her head-dress that had got out of 
order. Whilst there they discovered two gentle- 
men approaching, and the lady induced the Count 
to make a hasty retreat with her, but not before 
they had been noticed, though not recognised, by 
the persons approaching the pavilion. Madame 
Platen, however, before she left, unobserved 
by her companion, dropped an embroidered 

They had scarcely departed when the Crown 
Prince and Baron von Platen entered the pavilion, 
much astonished at the sudden disappearance of 
its late inmates. Platen discovered the glove, 
and presented it to the Prince, who readily recog- 
nised it as one he had given to the Princess. The 
Crown Prince wished to know who the companion 
of the lady was, and a turn in the path bringing 
the ftrgitives again into view, he w^ perfectly 

152 MEMOIRS OF . . 

satisfied he beheld Count Konigsmark. The ladjr 
too, he did not fuil to obserTe» was in a lU-ess very 
similar to such as was usually worn by the 

At this crisis, they were interrupted by servants, 
who declared they had been sent by the Princess 
to look for a glove she had lost The Prince 
thinking the afiair rather singular, led the Baron to 
the presence of his consort, who declared that one 
of her embroidered gloves had been stolen from 
her, and a substitute put in its place. The Baron 
produced the original, and the Princess imme- 
diately claimed it The Prince thought it very 
strange : but it was carefully concealed from his 
Highness that his younger brother, Prince Maxi- 
milian, had, at the instigation of Madame Weyke, 
taken the glove to her, to gratify her wish to ex- 
amine the embroidery. It then inmiediately 
{)a&3ed into the hands of her sister, who made the 
infamous use of it we have described. . There was 
a large amount of stupidity in the composition 
of the Crown Prince; but after having asked 
two or three questions, which threw no light 
on the matter, he walked away not a little dis- 


This was one of those unprincipled schemes bj 
which the wife of the prime minister sought to 
blast the reputation of the innocent daughter-in- 
law of her sovereign. It betrays the fiendish 
malice of the wretch who employed it, and was 
the first intimation she gave that nothing less than 
the utter ruin of the Princess would satisfy her 
craving for revenge. 


Inedited letter from the Duchess Sophia to Charles II. — The 
Crown Prince of Hanover serves under the Prince of Orange 
— Is distinguished by his favour — His neglect of his con- 
sort observed by his father — Insulting conduct of the 
Platens to Sophia Dorothea — Her father prejudiced against 
her by Bemstorf— Platen raised to the dignity of Count — 
Singular proof of the Countess Platen's influence at court— 
Prince Maximilian reprimanded — ^The Prince enters into a 
conspiracy— The Countess Platen's intrigues with Konigs- 
mark — Strives to prevail on him to leave off visiting the 
Princess —Advises the Bishop to have the conduct of his 
daughter-in-law closely watched — Singular arrest of Count 
Molcke — Countess Platen endeavours to prevail on the 
Count to save himself by implicating the Princess — He re- 
fuses — He is beheaded, and Prince Maximilian banished — 
Ernest Augustus becomes Elector of Hanover — His obliga- 
tions to the Countess Platen — Unhappy state of Sophia 
Dorothea — Learns the attempt to implicate her in the trea- 
son of Count Molcke — She remonstrates with the Crown 
Prince — His brutal indifference — Singular revelation made 
to the Princess — Assault on Sophia Dorothea by her hus- 
band — The manner in which this is regarded by the Elector 
and his consort— The- Princess goes back to Zelle — Her 
wish to remain denied by the Duke in consequence of the 
misrepresentations of Bemstorf— Astonishment of the Elec- 
toral family caused by the Princess driving past the Heren- 
hausen Palace on her return. 



The critical state of affidrs in England had 
awakened the liveliest attention in the mind of 
the politic sovereign of Hanover, and he was 
busily engaged in preparing to take advantage of 
any event that might favour the pretensions of 
his son. His consort took an interest in the sub* 
ject at least equal to his own. Indeed she re- 
garded it with a degree of attention that appeared 
to increase with every year of her life. 

This lady was always desirous of keeping up a 
good understanding with her royal relatives in 
England. The following inedited letter — now 
first printed from the original preserved amongst 
the Lambeth MSS.— congratulating Charles II. on 
his restoration to the throne of his ancestors, is 
an early and interesting specimen of her corres- 
pondence :— 

158 memoirs of 

" Sire,— 
" Parmy tant d aplaudissements et de joye pour 
rheureux retablissement de voire Majeste, il me 
seroit dificile de cacher la mienne, quand meme 
j'ignorerais la bonte de votre Majeste, que je 
m'assure ne condaunera la hardiesse que je prans 
de la lay oser tesmoigner, come aussi la satisfac- 
tion avec laquelle j'ay apris que mes veus out 
enfin este exooses, celon la justice de leur cause. 
II ne me reste plus rien a desirer pour le present 
avec que plus d'ardeur et de zelle que Taffermisse- 
ment du trone de votre Majeste pour tons les 
ciecles a venir, accompagnes de toute les grandeurs 
et contantemens deu k sa royale personne. Et 
quand mesme je n'en verrois Tesclat que de loing, 
de pouYoir neantmoius passer dans Tesprit de votre 
Majeste pour une personne qui sera toute sa vie 
avec beaucoup de respect, 

** Sire, de votre Majeste, 

** La tr^s humbles et tr^s 
** Obeissante servante, 
•• Sophie. 
" A. HanoTcr ce 31 de May, 1660." 

The Crown Prince was also actively employed 


in assisting his father's Tiews. He had seen more 
than one campaign since his marriage, in which he 
had favourably distinguished himself. He accepted 
from the Emperor a command in the army sent to 
oppose the Turks, and was present at their severe 
chastisement on the 12th of September, 1683. 
He subsequently gained additional laurels by his 
conduct at the capture of Buda, in 1686. 

But although the Emperor was a superior, 
whose service it was greatly to his interest to 
adopt, there was one to whom he felt bound 
by still stronger ties. This was the Prince of 
Orange, who had already afforded him his coun- 
tenance, and recognised his claims to the British 
throne. This Prince, as the husband of the 
Princess Mary, had ably intrigued with the 
powerful Protestants of England to force from 
the throne the unpopular sovereign James the 
Second, his father-in-law, and secure the vacant 
seat. The Crown Prince of Hanover gladly 
served under the command of the Prince of 
Orange in Holland, where he beheld a good 
deal of active service. He joined in the battles 
of Steenkerk and Lauden, and was present at the 
siege of Namur; by his conduct in the field, and 


his attentions to his commander^ he won the fa- 
vourable consideration of that very shrewd Prince. 
Whilst engaged in these campaigns Prince 
George was rarelj seen at Hanover, and still more 
rarely beheld by his neglected wife, his indiffer- 
ence to whom began now to be so publicly talked 
o^ that his father thought of remonstrating. From 
this, however, he appears to have been divert^ 
by the representations of his confidential counsel- 
lors the Platens, who assured him such conduct was 
entirely the fault of the Princess in making herself 
by her severe manners and unamiable disposition, 
so extremely disagreeable to her consort. The 
Bishop was still &vourably disposed towards his 
daughter-in-law ; but as constant dropping wears 
away stone, constant calumny as surely wears 
away the best convictions, and his kindly disposi- 
tion towards Sophia Dorothea seemed giving way 
to the incessant attacks that had been made upon 
it He went to his Duchess for advice» but she 
was too deeply engaged in philosophical specula- 
tions to give much of her attention to a point 
she thought of so little moment She was of 
course, prejudiced in favour of her son, and 
speedily dismissed the matter, by giving it as her 


opiuioQ, that the Princess should increase her 
efforts to regain the affections of her lord. 

The situation of the consort of the Crown 
Prince was one very trying to the temper. The 
most angelic disposition must have suffered from 
such constant annoyance and insult as she was 
forced to endure. The behaviour of the Platens 
was of itself sufficiently provoking, but to this 
was added the conduct equally offensive from 
Madame Weyke, Mademoiselle Schuleuburg, and 
others of the infamous coterie, who ruled either 
the sovereign or his heir. At all the court en- 
tertainments or receptions they flaunted about, in 
the presence of the Princess, as insolently as 
though her Highness was there only by their 
sufferance. This, however, sometimes provoked 
remarks from her that made them a little more 
inclined to keep their distance. 

The Princess was far from being happy, and 
she wrote to her mother complaining bitterly of 
the treatment she received, hoping that Uet 
father's remonstrances would bring about a more 
satisfactory state of things. But affiiirs had much 
changed at Zelle since her departure. Bemstorf 
had been so well rewarded for his co-operation in 

VOL. I. M 

162 ifEMonts OF 

uniting the two &milies» that he felt bound hand 
and foot to the service of the sovereign of 
Hanover. He continued to remain where he was, 
but it was rather to watch over the interests of 
bis new master, than from any desire to be of ad- 
vantacje to the old one. Nevertheless, the in- 
fluence of his prime minister over the Duke of 
Zelle had increased to such an extent, that the 
opinions of his once beloved counsellor were never 
thought of, and the Duchess, though she made 
efforts to render Bemstorf more inclined to pay a 
proper attention to her wishes, had the mortifica- 
tion of finding that in everything she was thwarted 
and opposed. If she attempted to recommend 
any line of policy that might be advantageous to 
her friend the Duke of Wolfeubiittel, one as nearly 
the reverse as possible was sure to be followed. 
On this point Bemstorf had received the most de- 
cisive instructions; and in grateful acknowledg- 
ment of the valuable addition to his estate he had 
lately obtained, he was particularly active in de- 
feating any plan, as soon as brought forward, that 
could in any way favour Duke Anthony Ulrich. 

There was another direction in which it was 
expected he would greatly further the views of 
the sovereign of Hanover, or, more properly 


speaking, of that sovereign's mistress; and this 
was to create such a prejudice in the wind of the 
Duke of Zelle against his daughter, that nothing 
she could advance would have any weight with 
him. With this object in view, the most discre- 
ditable stories were told him of her stubbornness, 
obstinacy, and pride, till he was almost inclined 
to doubt so wilful a creature could be the daughter 
of his once idolized Eleonore. But through the 
skilful management of their inventor, the lady of 
the Baron von Platen, these stories came before 
the Duke so well authenticated, it was impossible 
to doubt such testimony. So that when the in« 
dignant mother attempted to acquaint him with 
her daughter s wrongs, she found him inclined to 
lay the blame entirely on the Princess, and not at 
all disposed to interfere. 

In these intrigues the Baron and his lady had 
been so successful, that their grateful sovereiffn^ 
as a reward, raised them bqth to a higher, dignity. 
They became Count and Countess. With this 
new distinction the Platens assumed greater state 
than ever, and so absolute had they become^ that 
he must be daring indeed who sought to put an 
affront upon them. A singular instance of the 

M 2 


inflaence possessed bj the Countess Platen, and 
of her readiness in punishing what she considered 
an offence to her, was displayed in the person of 
Prince Maximilian, a younger brother of the 
Crown Prince. 

The Countess possessed a remarkably brilliant 
complexion, which it was supposed, and not un- 
justly, she owed to the use of cosmetics. The 
Prince, in the true spirit of youthful mischief, re- 
solved to make an experiment to ascertain if the 
general suspicion ^vas correct, and when they were 
together he playfully sprinkled a few drops of 
what appeared to be water, over her face. The 
lady was so inquisitive to know the nature of this 
Dquid, that the Prince, as if accidentally, upset 
the glass in which it was contained. She ex- 
pressed her regret at the accident, and appeared 
inclined to think no more about it, but as soon 
as the back of the Prince was turned, she set on 
foot such inquiries as led to her discovering that it 
was the warm water in which peas had been 
boiled — a popular test for the presence of rouge. 
Shortly afterwards Prince Maximilian was sum- 
moned to the presence of his father, from whom 
he received a stem reprimand, and a threat of 


being placed under arrest, should he ever again 
try such experiments upon the Countess Platen. 

The Countess was polite to servility to all who 
were greatly her superiors, but to those whom 
she considered beneath her, she was intolerably 
arrogant, proud, and over-bearing. She was, be- 
sides, very revengeful, cruel, and insincere, and 
left no art untried to injure those who had once 
offended her. Her malice had been excited 
against the young Prince; she resolved to let 
it take its effect on the first opportunity that pre- 
sented itself; and she had received information 
that assured her an occasion would soon occur. 

Prince Maximilian had become very greatly 
dissatisfied with an arrangement by which his 
father and uncle had set aside the will of his 
grandfather, which allowed the sons certain claims 
on the estates of the family. The agreement 
entered into at the marriage of the Princess 
Sophia Dorothea merged all such rights into the 
grasping right of primogeniture, by which the 
younger branches were deprived of their claims. 
The Prince did not approve of being robbed for 
the benefit of his elder brother,; lEihd he toolc into 
his confidence Count Molcke, the master of the 


hunt, and subsequently sought another adviser 
equally shrewd, but much more dangerous — the 
traitorous prime minister of the sovereign of Zelle. 
He also thought of asking the assistance of the 
Duke of Wolfenbiittel, whose claims were also 
affected by this family marriage^ and imprudently 
entered into negociations with him, of which 
Bemstorf was cognizant 

We have already spoken of the extreme jealousy 
with which Bishop Ernest Augustus regarded any 
reference to, or intimacy with, his kinsman Duke 
Anthony Ulrich ; with the same feelings he looked 
upon any interference with his long-cherished pro- 
ject of uniting the governments of Zelle and 
Hanover: consequently the offence of his son 
Prince Maximilian was doubly flagrant. The 
treacherous Bemstorf knew this, but serious as 
might be the consequences to the youth, instead 
of warning him of his danger, he afforded him 
every encouragement to proceed, whilst acquaint- 
ing the Platens with all he could learn of his 
plans. He knew such intelligence would be well 
paid for, but was scarcely aware of the great gra- 
tification it would afford to his friend the Countess. 
The information once in her hands, the young 


man was doomed to learn the risk he had in- 
curred by experimenting on the complexion of his 
father s mistress. 

In the mean while, the Countess Platen had 
employed all her blandishments upon the hand- 
some Konigsmark, with the object, it was thought, 
of making him subservient to her views against 
the Princess, and he became so frequent a visitor at 
her house that she was obliged to endeavour to stop 
the scandal it occasioned, by stating he was paying 
his addresses to her daughter. How &r the Count's 
conduct to her laid him open to the stories that 
were in circulation about them, cannot be cor- 
rectly ascertained, but the general laxity of morals, 
and Konigsmark's well known character for in- 
trigue, render it very probable that he either did 
not care or did not dare to neglect her advances. 
Nevertheless, he still devoted himself to the 
Princess. No doubt^ communion with her pure 
and noble charp.cter was too refreshing to be 
readily abandoned, after being obliged to asso- 
ciate with the clique of the wife of the prime 

The Countess, however, could not endure that 
Konigsmark should visit the Princess ; she remon- 


strated with him, and even requested he would 
leave off doing so. The Count, in his next inter- 
view, repeated this in a jesting manner to the 
Princess, but the latter having learned the mali- 
cious remarks her powerful enemy had made on 
the subject, considered it advisable to avoid giving 
cause for scandal, and recommended the Count to 
discontinue visiting her. To recompense him for 
any disappointment this might bring, she gave her 
consent to a correspondence that was to pass 
through the hands of her attached friend. Made- 
moiselle Knesebeck. 

Notwithstanding this caution, the Countess was 
too shrewd, or else too suspicious, to rest satisfied, 
and, as whenever the consort of the Crown Prince 
met her in public, her Highness did not care to 
conceal the contempt she felt for such an adven- 
turess, and Kbnigsmark could not refrain, on 
similar occasions, from showing the respect with 
.which he regarded the Princess, the Countess 
continued to receive provocation to revenge, which 
she was not the person to pass unnoticed. She 
advised Ernest Augustus to have the conduct of 
his daughter-in-law closely watched, and gave 
many reasons that seemed founded on incon- 


trovertible evidence, that it was absolutely neces* 
sary for the preservation of the honour of his 
family. Mademoiselle Schulenburg was induced to 
give similar advice, founded on the same testimony, 
to the Crown Prince. Both were, however, greatly 
disappointed in finding their interposition for the 
preservation of the honour of the Brunswick- 
Luneburg family, produce as little attention as 
might have resulted from a recommendation, to 
be careful against robbery, from known pick- 
pockets. Thus passed three or four years, each 
becoming to the Princess more fruitful of unhap- 
piness than its predecessor. 

An event occurred about this time which 
greatly astonished the more simple-minded of the 
people of Hanover. The story which was circu- 
lated by authority was, that Count Molcke, the 
grand master of the hunt, during a court enter- 
tainment, presented his snuff-box to his sovereign. 
His Serene Highness immediately took a large 
pinch, and, rising from his seat at the card-table, 
requested the Count to take his hand. He then 
proceeded, with the snuff between his fingers and 
thumb, to another apartment, and, singular to re- 
late, there gave it to a favourite pet spaniel. 
What is more strange, the poor dog found his 


master had presented him with a gift that ^ was 
not to be sneezed at,'' and immediately died. 
Directly this awful event had occurred, Count 
Molcke was told that some one was waiting to 
speak to him, and when he arrived at the bottom 
of the staircase he found himself placed under 

There can be but little doubt that of this very 
stale trick the grand master of the hunt knew 
nothing ; and we cannot give his accusers much 
credit for cleverness in having recourse to any- 
thing so out of date for ruining a nobleman, as an 
accusation of attempting to poison his sovereign. 
Count Molcke, however, was thrown into prison, 
and was examined as to his participation in a con- 
spiracy for separating theLiineburgandCalenburg 
territories. He did not deny wliat was advanced 
against him, but in entering into a detail of his 
share in the business, he proved that he had been 
instigated to it by Bemstorf. Nevertheless that 
traitor having given the information, his assurances 
that the Count had endeavoured to draw him into 
the conspiracy, were quite satisfactory to the judges, 
and Count Molcke was not believed. 

This transaction greatly excited Ernest Augus- 
tus, and the Countess Platen imagined that he 


was in a mood so implacable she could easily im- 
plicate the consort of the Crown Prince in the 
same hateful treason. Accordingly, before the trial 
was concluded, one of her numerous agents pri- 
vately questioned the prisoner whether he knew 
how far the Princess Sophia Dorothea participated 
in the conspiracy to separate the two territories ; 
and on his asserting total ignorance of her being 
in any way concerned in it, it was hinted to 
him that his trial should end favourably for him 
if he could implicate the Princess. The Count 
was too much a man of honour to save his life by 
conduct so abominable. He repeatedly answered 
he did not believe the Princess had the slightest 
notion of his design. 

Finding he was not to be tampered with, he 
was brought to trial, condemned to death, and 
suffered decapitation on the 15th of July, 1692, 
in the riding place behind the Royal Mews in 
Hanover. Prince Maximilian was banished, and 
sought refuge at the court of his kinsman, the 
Duke of Wolfenbiittel. 

His father, towards the conclusion of the same 
year, found consolation for the trouble and an- 
noyance he had been put to by his son, in a new 

- J 

172 HEM0IB8 OF 

dignitj, for which he had long been sighing, with 
all the ardour of a lover for a &vour fix>m his 
mistress. The assistance he had rendered the 
Emperor of Austria was gratefully acknowledged 
by that monarch. A treaty of everlasting friend- 
ship between the two sovereigns was signed on 
the 22nd of March of this year, and on the llth 
of the following December the Emperor trans- 
mitted, through the hand of Counsellor von Grote, 
a promise under his own hand, that the Duchy of 
Hanover should be raised to an Electorate. This 
news was so gratifying to the ambitious sovereign 
of Hanover, that he caused a succession of fetes to 
be celebrated in honour of so important an ac- 
quisition, and, in consequence, his good courtiers 
and subjects took to feasting and merry-making 
with as much zeal as good courtiers and subjects 
should always exhibit on occasions of compliment 
to their royal master. 

Amongst those who distinguished themselves 
in giving entertainments to congratulate the new 
Elector, the Countess Platen was the most con- 
spicuous. Even the court fetes were thrown into 
the shade by the superior magnificence and luxury 
she displayed. She deemed herself bound to re- 


joice on as imposing a scale as possible, as she 
took to herself the credit of procuring her lord 
this cove table distinction, and as he was not un- 
mindful of her valuable services, she had the 
means of so rejoicing at her disposal. Indeed his 
obligations to her in procuring the much-desired 
Electoral dignity raised her influence over him even 
higher than it had been hitherto, and a person less 
sanguine than herself might have been satified 
she had now the power of crushing her fair and 
innocent rival, as easily as she had disposed of 
Prince Maximilian and his coadjutor Count 

As regards that much-suffering Princess, things 
seemed to be drawing to a crisis very fast. Openly 
neglected by her husband,— scarcely noticed by 
her ambitious sovereign and his philosophic con- 
sort, and insulted by the impudent wantons who 
ruled both father and son, her life was a dailv 
series of the most irritating humiliations, — th^ 
only relief from which she found in the society of 
her children, and in the sympathy of her faithful 
friend. Mademoiselle Knesebeck. She had endured 
with exemplary patience the gross injustice under 
which she laboured, in the conduct pursued to- 


174 • M£MOIBS OF 

wards her by her hosband's family, and through 
their toleration, by the licentious crew who 
made so prominent a feature at their court, but 
she sighed for the sweet peace she had so long 
enjoyed in the honoured home of her excellent 
motlier, and ofleu found herself entertaining a 
wish to leave the den of satyrs in which she had 
been so miserably misplaced, and Nvith her chil- 
dren, seek an asvium at Zelle. This wish em- 
l)raced the form of a resolution sooner than she 

Count Konigsmark having, from the office he 
held of Colonel of the Guards, learned the attempt 
that had been put in practice to induce Count 
Molcke to save his life by accusing the daughter- 
in-law of his sovereign, made the Princess ao- 
((uaiuted with it, and she soon afterwards sought 
her consort, and disclosed to him the reckless 
conduct of the Countess Platen in making so 
infamous an etfort to ruin her. The Crown 
Prince impatiently listened to her statement^ and 
coldly replied, — it was a matter in which he had 
no concern, and did not want to be mixed up 
with. A husband declaring he had no concern 
in a cold-blooded attempt to destroy his wife, 


was too much for the much-abused patience of 
the Princess, and a rather stormy discussion 
ensued, which, however, served no other purpose 
than to increase in the mind of the Crown Prince, 
that ill-feeling towards his consort, which had 
been so artfully infused into it by his mistresses. 

Another humiliation was in store for her. The 
behaviour of herself and Count Konigsmark in 
public to the Countess Platen and Mademoiselle 
Schulenburg, had been made a subject of complaint 
by them to the Elector and to his eldest son ; the- 
Colonel of the Guards was reprimanded by both 
princes, and the Princess received the admonitions 
of her husband. Smarting under these insults, she 
was one day promenading with Mademoiselle Knese- 
beck, when in a mysterious way she received from 
a poor old woman whom she had relieved, the 
information that Mademoiselle Schulenburg had 
just given birth to a daughter, of which the Crown 
Prince was the father.* This set the cup q{ bitter-» 
ness overflowing. She became excessively excited, 

* Mademoiselle Schulenburg gave birth to more than one— 
but her sister so ably helped her in keeping such evidences of 
her guilt out of sight, that she was never suspected of having 
been a mother by those not in the secret. 


and questioned Mademoiselle Enesebeck verj 
closely on the subject of the Prince s intrigues 
with that woman, till she forced from her all she 
knew, — which was, in fact, no more than every 
one knew, except the wronged and insulted wife. 

As soon as the Princess returned to the palace, 
she rushed to the apartments of the Crown Prince, 
and finding him alone, upbraided him for his 
infamous conduct. He retorted in a style that 
could only have come from a vulgar profligate 
lost to every sense of honour and decency. This 
excited the indignation of the Princess to such 
an extent, she expressed her ideas of her husband 
in language that stung him to the quick, — and 
stung him the more because he knew he richly 
deserved it. As he had stooped to be a profli- 
gate, he had not much lower to degrade himself 
in becoming a brute; and the persons in the 
ante-room were presently alarmed by hearing 
screams and cries for assistance, and rushed in 
just in time to save their mistress from strangu- 

The Princess, in a state of insensibility, was 
carried by the attendants to her apartments^ 
where by the skilful treatment and soothing at- 


tentions of Mademoiselle Knesebeck, she in a short 
time recovered. She had had enough of her worth- 
less husband, and having previously obtained per- 
mission from the Elector to visit her parents, she 
lost no time in setting off for Zelle. It was her 
intention never to return. Forbearance had pro- 
ceeded to its limits. It was bad enough to see the 
affections of her husband diverted from her, and 
bestowed upon a tribe of impudent hussies who 
gloried in possessing the power to insult and annoy 
her ; but when remonstrating against the grossest 
wrong a wife could receive, to be sprung at like 
a wild beast, and only escape strangling by the 
timely arrival of assistance, was more than human 
nature could endure. She could but pity the 
dupe of the designing wretches who had succeeded 
in inflaming his mind against her, but the brute 
who added personal violence to the wrong he 
had inflicted, she could, only regard with con-- 

Instead of being ashamed of his dastardly 
conduct, henceforth he nourished the most im- 
placable animosity against his outraged consort. 
The affair had irritated him against her to such 
an extent, that he would gladly have had her 

VOL. I. N 

178 icEMonts OF 

severely punished, had a law been available for 
troublesome wives who take offence at their hus- 
band*s infidelities. He seemed to regard her re- 
proaches as a monstrous interference in his private 
affiurSy he was not to put up with, and attributed 
them entirely to a dissatisfied and jealous dis- 
position. In his eyes it mattered not with what 
indignity the mother of his children was treated. 
Her birth was equal to his, her moral and intellec- 
tual qualifications were very far superior, but he was 
not likely to think of these claims on iiis respect, 
when he forgot the more powerful ones she pos- 
sessed as a wife and a mother. He appeared to 
think it very proper that a Crown Prince should 
not only treat his consort with the most insulting 
indifference, but carry on an illicit intercourse 
with one or more women of loose character 
almost in her society, and force her to humiliate 
herself by recognising their presence. He had no 
sense df justice, of morality, or even of decency, 
and whatever may have been his behaviour in 
the field, it is but too evident that he was insen- 
sible to the manliness that generates true courage. 
The Elector was allowed to hear only an ex- 
aggerated account of the fracas • between his 


eldest son and his consort, in which the latter 
was made to appear a perfect fiiry, excited by a 
blind and unaccountable jealousy to wreak a sum- 
mary vengeance on the person of the Crown 
Prince. He was extremely shocked, but felt 
satisfied that a short sojourn with her parents would 
make a salutary change in her disposition, and 
she would be less violent in her temper. As 
for the Electress, she could not understand how 
wives could become dissatisfied with their hus- 
bands. In her own person certainly she proved 
that no amount of matrimonial infidelity on the 
part of a husband would ever trouble her, and 
that associating with mistresses was not offensive 
in her ideas of good taste. She would not tole- 
rate her daughter-in-law quarrelling with her 
husband on what she was pleased to consider so 
trifling a matter, and was ready enough to take 
the opinion of her informants that it arose entirely 
from obstinacy and bad temper. 

The Countess Platen was delighted with this 
quarrel, and took care that the Prince should be 
encouraged in the ** spirited**, part he had thought 
proper to play; but there was to her an object of 
much greater solicitude and this was to prevent the 

N 2 


outraged wife finding the happy home she had 
so ardently sought in her father's residence. The 
Countess had written to Bernstorf to prepare the 
mind of Duke George William for the approach* 
ing visit of his daughter. In consequence of 
which his confidential minister gave him an ex- 
aggerated account of the disagreements between 
the Crown Prince and his daughter. Self-will, 
jealousy, pride, and discontent, were insisted on as 
the sole causes of the unsatisfactory state in which 
the Crown Prince had lived with his consort: 
moreover, it was intimated to him that to coun- 
tenance his daughter in her opposition to her 
husband would be sure to cause a breach in the 
good understanding that existed between the 
families. This argument had great force with 
him. He was willing to make any sacrifice rather 
than quarrel with the Elector, and the unfavour- 
able impression made on his mind relating to his 
daughter rendered the matter one of very little 

The unhappy Princess, when she had arrived at 
what she had so long looked to as her haven of 
refuge, was soothed by the ready sympathy of her 
mother, who felt all the indignation of a truly 



yirtuous woman at the recital of the insults land 
brutality that had driven her daughter from her 
husband's roof. She was not at all astonished at 
her resolution not to return there, and willingly 
agreed to use her best exertions to gain the 
Duke of Zelle's permission for her to remain for 
the rest of her life within his territories. The 
Princess grew somewhat pacified by the affec- 
tionate assurances of her amiable parent, and for 
some time lost all sense of her wrongs in antici- 
pating the sweet and tranquil pleasure that was 
in store for her, in the retirement she had selected 
from her unpleasant position at the profligate 
Court of Hanover. There, with her beloved chil- 
dren, her faithful Knesebeck, and her affectionate 
parents, what a blessed contrast would she 
find to the tainted atmosphere she had been 
obliged to breathe ! It had been long since any- 
thing like happiness had visited her troubled 
heart, but in the visions of prospective bliss in 
which she now indulged, where she might be sure 
chartered profligacy would never be allowed to 
flaunt before her eyes, she began to experience 
a sense of enjoyment that very closely resembled 


Alad ! all these fair visions were at once dashed 
on one side in her first appeal to her father to 
sanction her staying where she was. To her ex- 
treme astonishment he decidedly refused to allow 
her to remain within his territories longer than 
would be considered suflScient for the visit of a 
daughter to her parents, and he made this refusal 
the more bitter by adding to it some severe re- 
marks on her conduct towards her husband. He 
laid the blame of her marriage discomfort to her 
want of knowing how to govern her temper, — a 
deficiency he thought the more inexcusable, as in 
the person of the Electress she had alwap before 
her a bright example of a good wife. He then 
recommended— or to call things by their right 
names — insisted that the Princess should return 
to her husband with as little delay as possible. 

This disappointment was a stunning blow to 
the ill-treated wife. She could .scarcely believe 
in the existence of such inhumanity in a parent 
to his only child^ as would induce him to refuse 
her an asylum from the brutal attacks and the ofien- 
sive infidelities of her husband. She argued, she 
urged, she implored — ^butthesame feeling, orrather 
thesamewant of feeling, that had caused her to be so 



hastily torn from a young Prince who would have 
secured her happiness, to be given to another, of 
all her acquaintance the most certain to mar it, 
now interposed to tell her that from the intole- 
rable misery this alliance had brought her, there 
should be no escape. 

The Princess saw there was no hope for her, 
and as soon as she had suflSciently recovered from 
the overwhelming nature of her disappointment, 
— allowing herself only to take an agonizing fare- 
well of her mother, whose affectionate heart was 
sorely troubled by the sight of her daughter's 
despair, — she stepped into her travelling carriage 
directly it could be got ready, and turned her 
back upon the home that in many a day of gloom 
and sorrow had shone like a pharos over the dark- 
ness, and seemed to point out a sure refuge and 
a peaceful security. Her hopes had proved as 
delusive as the mirage of the desert. With what 
bitterness of heart her return journey was accom- 
plished, it is impossible to express. 

It was known to her enemies that the Princess 
had fled to Zelle, and her object in doing so could 
scarcely have escaped them. She too well, knew 
they would not long remain in ignorance of the 


reasoD of ber return. The insults she had ex- 
perienced would be trifling in comparison with 
the insolence of triumphant malice she should 
now be forced to endure. Bitter, indeed, were 
her reflections as she thought of the impudent 
wantons with whom she should be again obliged 
to associate, — but even this was nothing contrasted 
with the feelings with which she regarded her 
fathers cruel abandonment of her, and utter m- 
difierence to all the insults and wrongs his only 
child had received. 

She had been advised to prove, by hastening 
her return, that she was anxious for a reconcilia- 
tion with her husband. The question of her re- 
maining at Zelle had been referred to the traitor 
Bemstorf, who had of course unanswerable objec- 
tions to it, and he had thrown out the most 
confident assurances, that were the unhappy wife 
to be the first to desire a renewal of intercourse, 
it would produce the happiest effect-s The Prin- 
cess was far from being sanguine of such a result, 
but she had no alternative. She was too well 
aware of the compound of selfishness, obstinacy, 
and stupidity she possessed in the person of her 
husband, to anticipate from him any generous 


impulses. But there was one motive that more 
than anything else satisfied her she must go back 
to her home, comfortless as she had found it. It 
was intimated to her that on no account would 
she be allowed to retain her children, were 
she to persist in refusing to return to her husband. 
That was a penalty she was not yet prepared to 
pay for the enjoyment of a life of peace and 
comfort, out of the depraved circle in which it 
had been her evil fortune to be cast. 

When the Elector was told that no doubt 
existed of the intention of his daughter-in-law to 
live apart from her husband, which was evident 
from her journey to Zelle, after the assault upon 
her by the Crown Prince, he appeared seriously 
concerned. He did not know how far such a 
determination might affect his long-desired union 
of his own and his brothers territories. He had 
begun to remonstrate with his unruly son upon 
the indecorousness of his neglect of bis wife, and 
to advise instant measures to be enforced for 
persuading his unhappy consort back to the family 
roof; when he received the intelligence that the 
Princess, having been discouraged by her father 
in her wish to remain at Zelle, was now on her 


way back to Hanover. This took a great weight 
off his mind. Nevertheless, he did not neglect 
recommending to his son a more creditable line 
of conduct than he had hitherto thought it ne- 
cessary to adopty— which recommendation he ex- 
tended to the whole circle, among whom he had 
little doubt, it was equally required. They rea- 
dily promised to be on their best behaviour, and 
together anticipated the arrival of their victim. 

The Hermhausen, or summer palace, in which 
they waited for the Princess, was situated on the 
road from Bruekhausen, (whence the Princess was 
travelling,) a short distance from Hanover. Here 
they remained, apparently anxious, by their atten- 
tions, to remove from the unhappy wife, whose 
home they had rendered intolerable, all the unplea- 
sant impressions they had created, yet no doubt, 
in their hearts, secretly determining to enjoy the 
spectacle of the humbled consort of the Crown 
Prince, obliged to come back to that ^lomestic 
discomfort, from which she had endeavoured to 

The carriage of the Princess was declared to 
be approaching, and the worthless band of conspi- 
rators against the young matron, were on the 


tiptoe of expectation. They schooled their hypo- 
crisy to put on its most amiable disguise, their 
hearts ail the while revelling in the prospect of 
the royal fugitive's embarrassment. The carriage 
was heard near the gates, and some of the most 
impudent rushed to the windows to observe the 
appearance of the Princess, after her discomfiture. 
To their extreme astonishment, the equipage 
passed on at a quick pace to Hanover ; but their 
astonishment was much exceeded by their indig- 
nation. They proclaimed this conduct of the 
Princess to be a studied insult; they declared 
that it was a new proof of that proud and uncon- 
ciliatory behaviour, that had made her society so 
exti-emely disagreeable. They argued for some 
signal punishment, to make her understand her 
position better. 

Probably, the Princess did not know the royal 
family were at the Hermhausen palace, and pro- 
ceeded direct to Hanover. It has, however, been 
stated, that her highness was well aware of it, 
and was about entering the gates, when she 
observed her deadly enemy, the Countess Platen, 
at the window, watching for her approach : her 
appearance there, at such a moment, was over- 


powering. Sophia Dorothea had endured too 
much, to meet the creator of all her miseries as 
unconcernedly as she desired, and therefore hastily 
gave orders to drive on to Hanover. 

When embracing her children, and replying to 
the affectionate inquiries of Mademoiselle Knese- 
beck, little did she imagine the stir she had created 
by passing the Hermhausen palace. 


State of affairs in Englaud — Tlie people prefer a Protestant 
ruler — Arrival of William Prince of Orange — He is called 
to the throne on the abdication of James II. — The claims 
of the Electress Sophia — Sketch of the Electress by Lord 
Dartmouth — Behaviour of the Crown Prince of Hanover to 
his consort — Unhappy position of Sophia Dorothea-— 
Av^kward results of the Countess Platen's intrigue with 
Count Konigsmark — The Count and the Princess sur- 
roimded by spies — Augustus Elector of Saxony — His exces- 
sive extravagance and licentiousness — Konigsmark at Dres- 
den — His imprudent revelations. 



Within the last few years, great events bad 
occurred in England, which much improved the 
pretensions of the Electress Sophia to the throne 
of that country. James the Second, having by his 
attempt to subvert the Protestant religion, and 
restore the Catholic to its ancient supremacy, 
created ^vide spread disaffection, the sagacious 
Prince of Orange, entered into communication 
with some of the most influential of the alarmed 
Protestants, and taking advantage of a favourable 
opportunity, landed in England, with a hostile 
armament, which was so speedily increased, by all 
ranks of the people, anxious to throw off the yoke 
of their head-strong and short-sighted ruler, that 
the latter found it necessary to consult his own 
safety by a precipitate flight from the kingdom. 


His daughter and son-ia-law were then elected 
by the nation, to fill the vacant throne, and under 
the title of William the Third, the Prince of Orange 
found himself possessed of those honours, for which 
he had so long, yet so secretly, been aspiring. He 
did not forget his kindred in Germany. The 
claims of the Electress Sophia, as next in succession 
to tlie Princess Anne, he was well inclined to 
recognise and support ; and he honoured the 
Duke of Zelle wich the Order of the Garter. 
There appears to be some reason for believing, 
that the Electress was not quite satisfied with the 
unceremonious manner in which James the Second 
had been cashiered by his subjects ; she afiected 
to be a Jacobite, and maintained communications 
with the exiled monarch : but probably this was 
one of the numerous eccentricities in which that 
illustrious ladv was wont to show how fiir she 
could depart from the straightforward path of 
common-sense. '^ 

A lively sketch of her has been preserved by 
Lord Dartmouth, then employed on a diplomatic 
visit to the Electorate. He says, ** She sent a 
coach to bring me to dinner to Herrnhausen, 
every day as I stayed. She was very free in her 


discourse, and said she held a constant correspon- 
dence with King James and his daughter our 
Queen. With many particulars of a very extra- 
ordinary nature, that were great proo& of his being 
a very weak man, and her being a very good 
woman. She seemed piqued at the Princess Anne, 
and spoke of her with little kindness. She told 
me the King and Queen had both invited her to 
make them a visit into England ; but she was 
groAvn old, and could not leave the Elector and 
her family, otherwise should be glad to see her 
own country (as she was pleased to call it) before 
she died, and should willingly have her bones laid 
by her mother s in the Abbey at Westminster, 
whom, she always mentioned with great veneration. 
She took it unkindly, that the Duke of Zelle 
should have the garter before her husband, who 
she thought might have expected it on her account, 
and told me she was once like to have been mar- 
ried to King Charles the Second, Which would not 
have been worse for the nation, considering how 
many children she had brought, to wihch I most 
sincerely agreed.** 

Among the papers discovered after the death of 
William the Third, were several in a chest, endorsed 

VOL. L o 


in his own hand, ^ Letters of the Electress Sophia 
to the Court of St. Germains.'' The Electress 
was a great letter-writer, and kept up a corres- 
pondence with many persons, not only in Germany, 
but in France and in England. She still continned 
her affectation of learned society, and her amiable 
indifference to the notorious invasion of her con- 
jugal rights by the profligate Countess Platen, 
whilst equally heedless of the persecution of her 
innocent and noble-minded daughter-in-law by her 
son's and her husband's mistresses. 

The Crown Prince, since the fracas we described 
in the last chapter, pursued a sullen behaviour to 
his consort, as far removed from affection as from 
respect. By Mademoiselle Schulenburg he had had 
one daughter, who was christened Petronelle M elu- 
sina. She was bom in the year 1693. Of her 
fate and fortune we shall have to speak presently. 
Whether he had any offspring by Madame Weyke, 
is not quite clear, but that lady had two children, 
and it is exceedingly uncertain who was their 
father. Her elder sister had also two children, a 
boy and a girl, — the former bom in 1674, and the 
latter in 1678. We have not heard that, the 
Elector laid claim to either, but had such been 


the case, he could have found very many com- 
I>etitors for that honour, besides her husband. 
Let this have been as it may, it is certain these 
women were paramount at the Court of Hanover, 
and that they united in one eager wish to destroy 
that admirable woman, whose virtues they could 
not but regard as so many reproaches of their 
own degraded condition. 

The Princess Sophia Dorothea had, since her 
return, lived anything but a comfortable life. She 
passed her time almost entirely with her children, 
to whom she proved herself a most tender mother, 
and with Mademoiselle Knesebeck, who was, be- 
sides them, almost her only associate. She was now 
surrounded by enemies, and constantly under sur- 
veillance. Even her women servants had, on 
various pretexts, been removed by the Countess 
Platen, for others, who acted as spies, and reported 
everything she said and did. The Princess was 
made aware of this ; but she seemed stupified by 
despair, and desired never to be troubled on such 
subjects. She appeared to be growing as callous 
of the wrongs daily inflicted upon her, as was, that 
pattern of conjugal content her mother-in-law. 
Nevertheless she felt the most acute anguish, and 

o 2 


in her oorrespondence with her mother she neyer 
could allude to the part her fiither had taken 
against her, without, by the bitterness of her ex- 
pressions, showing how deeply it went to her 

Her dangerous friend. Count Konigsmark, had 
thought it necessary to leave the neighbourhood 
of the Countess Platen for a time. It has been 
stated, on pretty good authority, that this lady 
nad, in consequence of her intimacy with the 
handsome Colonel of the Guards, found herself in 
a very awkward position — ^her husband having 
been absent fr^m her for at least twelve months, 
on a mission to Vienna, to congratulate the Em- 
peror Leopold on the recent coronation of his son 
Joseph, as King of Bohemia — and that she only 
freed herself from it, by remedies injurious to her 
health. To silence the scandal, which had spread 
far and wide respecting this intimacy, she had en- 
deavoured to induce the Count to marry her 
aughter. He, however, declined this honour on 
scruples of conscience — an excuse she could neither 
understand nor appreciate : indeed she felt quite 
indignant at his morality. 

He had also, by his devotion to the Princess^ 


excited her animosity to a great extent. He 
knew that his actions were closely watched, and 
that the slightest communication with his un- 
happy friend was instantly reported by some one 
or other of the herd of spies by whom her High- 
ness was surrounded. The Count, as we have 
said, was a man of the world— when what was 
called " the world" was vitiated and base to the 
lowest degree. He might have felt some sort of 
chivalrous devotion to the almost heart-broken 
Princess, but he was not without some sense of 
his own safety, and therefore resolved on removing 
himself from Hanover for a time. 

To a gay man of pleasure, like Count Kom'gs* 
mark, there were many places in which society 
might be discovered existing on principles as 
loose as those that distinguished Hanover. In 
this respect the Electorate of Saxony was in a 
deplorable state. We know not where to parallel 
the vices of its monarch, or how to convey an ade- 
quate picture of the licentiousness of its court Fre- 
derick Augustus the Elector was subsequently King 
of Poland. Of him a popular writer observes, ** His 
court formed a regular seraglio. When he died 
it was calculated that he had three hundred and 


fifty-four children by bis different mistresses/* We 
need only add to tbis, that he was the Sardanapalus 
of bis age : and that the abominations of which 
he set the example at Dresden were only rivalled 
by the atrocities committed at Rome» under the 
auspices of the Borgias. The sums lavished by 
this monarch in his expensive extravagances, is 
said to have amounted to a hundred millions of 
thalers, or fifteen millions sterling. The enter- 
tainments be gave almost exceed belief for the 
folly which characterized their extreme magni- 
ficence. One given at a later period of life when 
he formed a camp near Miiblberg, lasted thirty 
days, and he had for his guests forty-seven kings 
and princes. It was on this occasion a cake was 
baked measuring twenty-eight feet in length, 
twelve in breadth, and three in height, which after 
having been displayed throughout the camp,was cut 
open with a silver axe by a cook in the disguise 
of a carpenter. . 

On another occasion — the marriage of his eldest 
son-^the bride, who was the daughter of the Em- 
peror Joseph I., was borne down the Elbe in a 
magnificent vessel called the Bucentaurus, got up 
in the most costly manner, surrounded by a bun- 


dred handsome gondolas, and fifteen ships rigged 
like frigates, each carrying from six to twelve 
guns, and manned by crews in yellow satin uni- 
forms, Avith white silk stockings. The King re- 
ceived her at Pima, in a dress covered with jewels 
valued at two millions of thalers, and surrounded 
by a staff of nineteen hundred of the nobility and 
gentry, six regiments of infantry, three of cavalry, 
and a body of yeomen eleven hundred strong, 
headed by the Postmaster General, Baron von 
Mordar, bearing a heavy golden post-horn en- 
riched with gems. They all went on board the 
vessels, and accompanied the bride to the environs 
of Dresden, whence they entered the capital in a 
hundred and seven carriages and six, accompa- 
nied by forty-four generals, a crowd of mounted 
noblemenandgentlemen, andthewhole Saxonarmy. 
The ceremony was followed by a festival that was 
prolonged for a month, in which Augustus and his 
principal guests represented themselves as the 
heathen deities, while the lesser stars were con- 
tent with appearing as demigods, &uns, satyrs, 
and nymphs. 

His extravagances, however, were sometimes 
•better directed, as he erected many beautiful ^ 


buildings in Dresden, and established noble pic- 
ture galleries and museums, to fill which with 
suitable objects he purchased the collections of 
Prince Chigi, and those of the Cardinals Albani 
and Belloni. The account of his unrivalled col- 
lection of Chinese, Japanese, and Saxon porcelain, 
fills five folio volumes. Augustus was a great 
patron also of alchemists, one of whom, however, 
after duping him, he caused to be beheaded. 
Among his expenses not the least item was his 
establishment of mistresses, who far exceeded 
in number and personal attractions, that of any 
European monarch ; and some idea of their cost 
may be acquired from the knowledge that to 
one only, the Countess von Kosel, he paid twentj 
millions of thalers for her services. 

The state of morals in the capital of the Elector 
of Saxony was, as may readily be imagined, at a 
very low ebb indeed, and here it was that the 
handsome and gallant Konigsmark directed his 
steps soon after leaving Hanover. A life of plea- 
sure, as it was termed, was eagerly sought after 
by the rich and titled, as the only proper existence 
for them, and the higher the dignity the greater 
was the excess to which all the sensual gratifica- 


tions were carried. It was clearly apparent that 
there was a royal road to vice; and gluttony, in- 
toxication, and licentiousness, were the ordinary 
ways by which it was passed. 

A person so distinguished by nature, and so 
celebrated for his gallantries, was sure not to be 
overlooked wherever he went, and at the table of 
the Elector, where he soon found a conspicuous 
place, he was surrounded by congenial spirits, 
with whom the jest went round with the wine, 
till too little discretion was left to enjoy either. 

The Count heard many extraordinary tales of 
gallantry, and was induced to acquaint his new 
friends with some of his own adventures. The 
ladies of the Court of Hanover were always in- 
teresting objects of scandalous gossip to the gal- 
lants of neighbouring courts, and Count Konigs- 
mark found a delighted auditory, whose encou- 
ragement led him on to more piquant reminis- 
cences. The principal objects of his revelations 
were the Countess Platen, Madame Weyke, and 
Mademoiselle Schulenburg, whom he represented 
as anything but vestals. He brought forward some 
entertaining anecdotes of each of the court fa- 
vourites, that must have given his hearers a 
lively idea of the charactew of these worthies. 


It has been represented that heliadbeen drink* 
ing deeply, and that he spoke without reserve of 
their infamous conduct — particularly dilating on 
the wrongs the Princess Sophia Dorothea had 
been forced to suffer in consequence of their in- 
trigues against her. Of the Count*s discretion in 
relating at a public table scandalous gossip of a 
woman so revengeful, and at the same time so 
powerful as the wife of the Elector of Hanover's 
prime minister* there can scarcely be two opi* 
nions ; but what shall be said of his bringing in 
the name of the Princess under such circum- 
stances ? Assuredly the wine he had drunk shut 
out from his mind the folly and the danger of his 


Countess Platen is told of Count K6nigsmark*s conduct — She 
excites the Elector against him — Her designs against the 
Princess Sopliia Dorothea — The Count's return — The forged 
invitation — Last interview of Konigsmark and the Princess — 
Proposed flight from Hanover to Wolfenbiittel — Countess 
Platen's misrepresentations to the Elector — He is persuaded 
into ordering the arrest of Konigsmark — ^The Countess plies 
the soldiers appointed to seize him with liquor — They are 
placed in ambush — Konigsmark attacked by them after quit- 
ting the apartments of Sophia Dorothea — He defends himself 
— He is killed — Inhuman conduct of the Countess Platen — 
Anger of the Elector on discovering this catastrophe — ^De- 
ception practised on him — He is induced to take measures 
to prevent the Count's death becoming known — Ignominious 
treatment of the body of Konigsmark— Accounts of tins 
murder by Horace Walpole and Archdeacon Coxe — Obser- 
vations on the character of Count Konigsmark — further 
particulars of his family — His sister Aurora. 



Count Konigsmark aflTorded much amuse- 
ment to the Court of Dresden, by relating his 
own intrigues with the Countess Platen. Amongst 
his laughing audience, however, there chanced to 
be a nobleman who was in communication with 
that lady. He had some years previously resided 
at the Court of Zelle, which he had been obliged 
to leave : from what cause cannot be more nearly 
ascertained than that the Princess Sophia Doro- 
thea was in some way involved in it. Most pro- 
bably he had been a too aspiring suitor, but we 
know only that ho regarded her with no good 
will, and his sentiments becoming known to the 
Countess Platen; he was easily engaged in her 
interests. From him she learned all that the 
incautious Count had so publicly revealed, and 
her rage became deadly. Nothing but his 


life would now satisfy her revenge, and to destroy 
him seemed the sole aim of her existence. 

She took an early opportunity of exciting the 
mind of the Elector against him by the most 
exaggerated account of what he had said about 
her, her sister, and Mademoiselle Schulenburg,with 
a comprehensive addition of offensive observations 
upon the sovereign of Hanover which he had never 
uttered. The Elector was very much offended with 
his Colonel of the guards for such behaviour to his 
and his son's mistresses ; but though this was very 
bad, to speak disrespectfully of his patron was 
abominable, and he readily gave a promise it should 
not go unpunished. 

There was another offender, against whom this 
woman's wrath was equally deadly in its tendency. 
This was the Princess. The Countess now sought 
to slander away both the life and the reputation 
of her sovereign's daughter-in-law, by affirming 
•the most horrible calumnies, supported by evidence 
there C4in be no doubt she had suborned. The 
Elector would gladly have treated her with the 
contempt she deserved, but her influence had 
become so powerful, that he himself was in fear of 
it. He temporized. He promised an inquiry. 



The Countess even insinuated, that the Princess 
and the Count were in league with the Duke of 
Wolfenbiittel, but even this exciting subject failed 
in blinding the Elector to the absurdity of such a 
charge. The favourite, stung with her want of 
success, grew more virulent in her charges ; but 
her patron at last mustered suflScient indigna- 
tion to tell his companion, that his opinion of the 
Princess was not to be shaken by assertions with- 
out proof. 

To obtain such proof was now her great object. 
She was not scrupulous in the means she employed, 
and if she could not get the testimony she required, 
she was determined to get something that should 
be mistaken for it. Excited by rage, jealousy, and 
hatred, she had sufficient stimulants at work to 
bring out all that mischievous talent which had so 
helped her forward during her career, and more- 
over, she had at her hand agents of all kinds, of 
whose readiness at any bad purpose sjie had ample 
evidence. She well considered her plans, and 
when they were mature, satisfied of their success, 
she kept like a bloated spider, out of sight of her 
victims, but ready to pounce upon them the 
moment they got entangled in the intricate web. 
she had spun for their destruction. 


Jost at this crisis, Count Konigsmark returned 
to Hanover, gay and brilliant as ever, and com- 
pletely ignorant of the danger in which he stood. 
He met with but a cold reception at the Electoral 
palace, but this did not appear to give him any 

When he retired to his chamber, he found a 
note written in pencil, from the Princess, request- 
ing he would visit her that evening. It was an 
unusual time to go to the Princess's apartments ; 
nevertheless, he went, and was admitted. On 
some surprise being expressed that he should have 
ventured there at such an hour, he produced the 
pencil note. It was a forgery. This discovery 
should have put them on their guard, and the 
Princess ought to have dismissed her visitor as 
speedily as possible. But they bad much to say 
to each other, and the Princess bad communica- 
tions to make, an opportunity for which might not 
occur again. ^ 

A long and confidential interview in the pre- 
sence of Mademoiselle Enesebeck took place. After 
endeavouring to entertain the Princess with a 
narrative of his travels and adventures, including 
an account of what transpired at his last interview 


with the Countess, the Count learned from her 
that her position had become quite intolerable. 
The conduct of the Crown Prince was such as no 
woman of womanly feeling could endure, and as 
he still continued his intimacy with Mademoiselle 
Schulenburg,* who, with her worthless associates, 
did all in her power to annoy and insult her; of coui-se 
no reconciliation had been or could be effected. 
Feeling it impossible to remain where she was 
with the slightest hope of comfort, she had desired 
to return to her parents, but her father s mind had 
been excited against her by the artful represen- 
tations of Bemstorf at the suggestion of the Pla- 
tens, and he had refused to receive her. 

The poor Princess had been rendered desperate 
by the wrongs with which she had been goaded, 
and expressed her determination to the Count 
not to remain where she was. Konigsmark 
eagerly caught at this. There can be but 
little doubt that he was as deeply enamoured 

* Mademoiselle Knesebeck, in a brief memoir of these trans- 
actions subsequently written by her, states, that the Crown Prince 
daily grew colder in his behaviour to his consort, till he merely 
recognised her presence in public. He had a separate bed* 
chamber and suite of apartments. 

VOL. I. P 


of the Princess as such a mere man of pleasure 
could be of a woman of her high rank pkcecl 
in a position that should have commanded the 
sympathy and devotion of a more honourable 
mind. He was ready to do everything and risk 
everything to assist her views ; but it is impossible 
to imagine such a man disinterested. Mademoiselle 
Knesebeck, who knew well what was going on, in 
her revelations* conveys the impression that he was 
a mere hollow-hearted libertine, who encouraged 
the unhappy Princess in her desire to abandon her 
miserable home from the hope it afforded of his 
being chosen as the companion of her flight. 
The prospect of running away with a Princess 
was exceedingly gratifying to his self-love — it was 
a crowning adventure in the gallantries of Count 
Konigsmark which would render his name more 
than ever celebrated in all the courts of Europe ; it 
would afford indubitable evidence of an attachment 
which would at once make him the wonder and envy 
of all his licentious contemporaries. He was ready 

* Mademoiselle Kaesebeck, at a subsequent period of her 
life, as we stated ia the previous note, drew up a statement of 
what fell under her own observation in the affairs of the Court 
of Hanover at this period, and of this we shall frequently avail 
ourselves in the following pages. 


to resign his emplojonents under the Elector, and 
prepare everything at his own expense for the 
immediate flight of the Princess to Paris. 

But driven to despair as she was, with a brain 
almost maddened by the injustice with which she 
had been treated, the Princess entertained no 
intention of committing her good name more than 
she could avoid. She believed Count Konigs- 
marktobe a faithful friend — she was grateful for his 
sympathy — she fancied she could place the fiiUest 
confidence in his honour, and was convinced he 
alone had the power of emancipating her from the 
degrading treatment which had caused her such 
intense suffering. As her father would not listen 
to her urgent prayer to be allowed to retire to 
Zelle from the persecution and insults she expe- 
rienced at Hanover, she seemed barbarously shut 
out from all hope of securing an honourable 
asylum. A gleam of sunshine, however, was still 
left her, and in the darkness which enveloped her 
future, it shone with extraordinary brilliancy. 

The Princess had often heardher mother dilateon 
the virtues of her steady friend, the Duke of Wol- 
fenbiittel. lie had expressed no less admiration 
of the daughter than he had felt for the mother, 

p 2 


and the Princess frequently recalled the sentiments 
in her favour, to which she had heard him give 
utterance previously to the ill-omened rupture 
between the two families. She had seen him very 
rarely since her marriage, but felt a conviction that 
in his honourable and chivalrous nature, she should 
find the comfort she so much required. As a 
kinsman there could be no impropriety in his 
affording her an asylum ; and she acquainted Count 
Konigsmark that it was her desire and intention, 
as she had formerly intimated to him, if she could 
escape from Hanover, to lose no time in placing 
herself under the protection of Duke Anthony 

The Count, if disappointed by hearing this 
determination, did not allow any such expression 
of his feelings to escape him. He promised to 
place himself entirely at the disposal of the 
Princess, and to have everything prepared for her 
flight to Wolfenbiittel with the greatest secrecy, 
and with as much despatch as hisample means could 
insure. The interview had already lasted too 

* The distance from Hanover to WolfenbQttel, is a little 
less than forty miles : therefore, the projected escape of Sophia 
Dorothea seemed quite feasible. 


long, and, with the knowledge they had of the 
manner in which it had been obtained, was preg- 
nant with danger to both ; but it was very late 
before they had stated all that was necessary each 
should know, and Mademoiselle Knesebeck had to 
warn them several times of the lateness of tbe hour, 
and of the danger they mutually incurred by the 
Count s remaining in the private apartments of 
the consort of the Crown Prince. At last, with 
many professions of fidelity and devotion, from the 
Count, and of earnest gratitude from the Princess, 
the former took his departure under the guidance, 
to a certain distance from that part of the palace, 
of the faithful lady in waiting. 

The forged letter of invitation was the work of 
the crafty Countess Platen, (as she subsequently 
confessed,) who immediately she learned it had 
produced the effect for which it had been designed, 
rushed to the Elector, and made such an enormity 
of the unseasonable visit of Konigsmark to the 
Princess, recommending the Count's imprisonment 
by so many apparently unanswerable arguments, 
that he was induced to order his arrest. This, 
however, he did reluctantly, and was quite unaware 
to what an extent she was deceiving him, and little 


imagined how much he was about to compromise 
the honour of his family. The old man was so com- 
pletely the dupe of her assurances and representa- 
tions, that he even complied with her solicitations 
to leave the management of this arrest to her, be- 
lieving, as he jocosely observed, she was anxious to 
prevent so handsome a man as his Colonel of the 
Guards being hurt, should he be so rash as to offer 
resistance. Three troAants (yeomen of the guard) 
and their superior were then placed at her disposal, 
directions being given them by their sovereign to 
obey the commands of the Councess Platen, in 
arresting an individual who would be pointed out 
to them by her. To this the wily Countess induced 
him to add, that they were to use their weapons, 
should it be necessary. 

The Countess conducted the soldiers, on quieting 
the presence of the Elector, into the hall that led 
by three steps to the apartment facing the Leipe 
Street — from the same place three steps- led in 
another direction to a passage conducting to the 
adjoining wing of the palace, facing the same 
street, to the door of the Saloon of Knights. In 
this apartment, there projected a capacious 
chimney, behind which the irabanU were told to 


conceal themselves. Whilst they remained here, 
the Countess furnished them with refreshments, 
and with as much liquor as she believed would fit 
them for the desperate work she had in hand. 
She had chosen her time well, for just when they 
were ripe for any deed they might be set to do, 
they heard approaching footsteps. With a hint 
of the great reward they might expect from the 
Elector if they exhibited their zeal by seizing his 
enemy, who she took care to add, having been 
condemned by the laws, it would be of no conse- 
quence how they treated if he attempted to escape 
— they were ordered to lie close. 

It was Konigsmark, who, having discovered that 
all the usual outlets were closed, had been obliged 
to endeavour to make his exit from the palace 
out of the Saloon of Knights, through the passage 
into the hail. He was approaching the chimney, 
congratulating himself that at last he was close to 
the outer door of the palace, and should soon be 
at liberty to accomplish the wishes of the Princess, 
when suddenly a rush was made at him by several 
armed men. Notwithstanding his complete igno- 
rance as to the number of his assailants, and that 
it was too dark to see who and what they were 

216 HBM0IB8 OF 

thej did not take bim so completely hj surprise 
as they bad anticipated. 

On leaving tbe Princess, tbe forged letter bad 
presented itself to bis mind as a snare tbat could 
not bave been employed witbout a purpose ; tbat 
it was tbe production of an enemy tbere could be but 
little question, and be need not bave besitated long 
before be must have been satisfied who tbat enemy 
was. When he ascertained tbat the doors through 
which he had hitherto proceeded out of thd 
palace from the Princess's apartments were locked, 
he began to fear he was enclosed in a trap. He 
walked cautiously along, and on tbe first rush 
of tbe trabants bis sword was out of its scabbard 
before they could lay bold of bim. 

Urged on by the Countess, and inflamed by tbe 
liquor they had drunk, the men attacked him furi- 
ously with their weapons. A most desperate con- 
flict ensued, the result of which might have been 
doubtful — for the Count bad inflicted several severe 
wounds on his assailants — had not the blade of 
bis sword snapped in two. He had endeavoured 
to give the alarm, but bis cries were soon stopped ; 
and, when his weapon became unserviceable, be was 
easily secured and carried into tbe adjoining room. 


Here the alarmed soldiers discovered that the 
person they had thus arrested was so severely 
wounded he could not stand upright. He had 
just strength to murmur an entreaty to •* spare 
the innocent Princess," though they murdered 
him, when he fell into a swoon as they were placing 
him on the floor. 

The Countess made her appearance directly the 
wounded man had been brought out of the hall, 
and the first object that met his eyes on recovering 
consciousness, was the face of his malignant enemy 
bending over him with triumphant malice ex- 
pressed in every feature. He rallied all his re- 
maining strength to denounce her as the infamous 
wretch she was, but his mouth was stopped by the 
foot of his assassin, who pretended she had slipped 
in his blood, barbarously trod on his wounded 
face. Life was ebbing fast — too fast either to 
resent or notice the indignity, and in. a few seconds 
the murdered man breathed his last 

When the yeomen of the guard ascertained that 
they had killed Colonel Konigsmark, their con- 
sternation was only equalled by their fear. Of 
this their wily employer took immediate advantage, 
by assuring them that they were sure to be hanged 

218 MEXonts OF 

by their soTereign, if thej did not all join in re- 
presenting the Count's death as the effect of his 
own rashness in resisting his arrest. Stnpified by 
fright, they were ready to promise anything to save 
their forfeited lives, and when the horror-struck 
Elector was summoned to see the result of the 
order he had entrusted to his reckless mistress, 
they represented themselves as acting only in self- 
defence, and the Count as madly rushing on his 
own death. 

Nevertheless, their royal master was far from 
being satisfied ; indeed, to do him justice, he was 
exceedingly angry, and no less grieved at so unjus- 
tifiable an act. He overwhelmed the Countess with 
reproaches for having induced him unwittingly to be- 
come the abettor of the assassination of so brilliant 
an officer as his Colonel of the guards, and seemed 
quite sensible of the odium which must fall upon 
him for his culpability in so disgraceful a transac- 
tion. The Count Konigsmark was so well known, 
that his death thus secretly effected in the Elec- 
toral palace, in the dead of the night, when it be- 
came public, would raise a storm of indignation 
throughout Germany, from which he could never 
hope to escape. 


The Countess at last contrived to pacify him, 
and, the consolatory plea of all evil doers, repre- 
sented that as the deed was done it could not be 
undone, and that a plan yet remained to escape 
from the consequences that so greatly alarmed 
him. Her plan was to prevent any knowledge of 
it transpiring. She then very cunningly showed 
how this might be accomplished most effectually, 
and in his urgent desire to escape from the con- 
sequences of his own criminality in suffering so 
unprincipled a woman to possess the power of 
which she had made so bad a use, he consented 
that measures should be taken instantly to prevent 
the Count's death becoming publicly known. 

The Countess had little trouble in persuading 
the trabants to save their necks by doing as she 
desired them. All traces of the murder were 
soon obliterated. The dead body was unceremo- 
niously cast into the most filthy receptacle that 
could be found for it, covered with quick lime, 
and the place walled up. So secretly and so 
skilfully were these measures taken, that no one 
in the palace was aware anything extraordinary 
had occurred during the night, although some 
persons had heard a slight disturbance of which 


220 MEMOntS OF 

thej had taken little notice, and from that time to 
this, notwithstanding suspicions had been created 
by the mysterious disappearance of Count Konigs- 
mark, nothing of a positive nature has been 
brought forward respecting his fete on which any 
reliance could be placed. 

The different publications that have since 
appeared, endeavouring to throw light on this 
dark tragedy, contain little more tban the specula- 
tions of the writer, or the suppositions of persons 
not much better informed. Of the statements that 
appeared in England, Horace Walpole's is to the 
effect, that the Count was strangled on leaving the 
apartments of the Princess, and his body secreted 
under the flooring of her dressing-room, where it was 
discovered in the reign of George the Second, during 
his first visit to Hanover, on making some alterations 
in the palace. ** George the Second," adds Walpole, 
'* entrusted the secret to his wife. Queen Caro- 
line, who told it to my fether ; but the King was 
too tender of the honour of his mother to utter 
it to his mistress, nor did Lady Suffolk ever hear 
of it till I informed her of it several years after- 

Archdeacon Coxe makes a near guess at the 


truth, when asserting that Konigsmark was dis- 
covered quitting the chamber of the Princess by 
the Elector, who had been concealed in the gal- 
lery by the Countess Platen, " and was instantly 
assassinated by persons whom she had suborned 
for that purpose.'' The German works indulge 
in various explanations of the mystery, none of 
which, however, can be traced to an authentic 
source. Mademoiselle Knesebeck, in her narra- 
tive, seems to have been aware that the Count 
was slain while resisting being arrested, but does 
not enter into any particulars. 

The account we have given is derived from two 
of the principal actors in the murder. One being 
the Countess Platen, who made a confession of 
her criminality on her death-bed ; the other 
being one of the trabants^ named Busmann, who 
on his death-bed also made a confession ; and, a 
rather singular coincidence, both penitents were 
attended by the same clergyman — a M. Kramer. 

Thus, then, perished that brilliant adventurer. 
Count Kbnigsmark, whose large fortune, rare 
talents, handsome person, and exalted position at 
court, could not save him from the vengeance of 
an offended courtezan, who suddenly struck him 


down, even in the palace of his sovereign, depriv- 
ing his soul of the consolations of a Christian, and 
bestowing on his body the sepulture of a dog. 
Although far from being admirers of such delusive 
recommendations as he possessed, and unfavour- 
ably disposed towards him in consequence of 
his laxity of morals and want of principle, we 
cannot withhold our sympathy from the victim of 
one of the most cold-blooded assassinations ever 
planned. Moreover, his dying entreaty in favour 
of the Princess showed he possessed a spirit wor- 
thy of a better atmosphere than that of a depraved 
court, and under more favourable circumstances 
than those by which he had the misfortune to be 
surrounded, it is not improbable he would have 
been an honour to his countrv, and an ornament 
to the world. 

Of the family of Count Konigsmark, his mother 
survived till the year 1698. Her daughter, 
Amelia Wilhelmina, became the wife of Charles 
Gustanus von Lowenhaupt, a Swedish nobleman. 
The adventures of the elder sister would fill a 
volume. At the Count's decease, a large sum was 
lying at his banker's at Hamburg, which they re- 
fused to give up to his family, because there was 


no legal evidence of his death. Aurora was very 
young, very accomplished, and very beautiful — 
was without a protector, and almost without funds. 
She hastily determined on appealing to the Elector 
of Saxony, and started for Dresden. Frederick 
Augustus beheld her claims in her personal attrac- 
tions. He was not likely to trouble himself much 
about the chicanery of Hamburg bankers, even for 
the sister of Count Konigsmark, whom he had so 
lately entertained ; but the suitor he saw before 
him was not to be denied by a monarch with such 
a reputation for gallantry. He in turn became a 
suitor, and as he left no means untried to dazzle 
and captivate the youthful Aurora, she in due 
time became numbered vrith the very numerous 
band who shared his august affections. 

She gave birth to a son in the year 1696, but 
during her indisposition she had the mortification 
to find that she had been superseded in the heart 
of her royal lover by a new favourite. In no 
slight disgust she retired to the Abbey of Qued- 
liuburg, where she employed herself in the nur- 
ture, and subsequently -in superintending the 
education, of her son. Of this sisterhood of Pro- 
testant Nuns, the beautiful Countess Konigsmark 


became Deaconess. She amused herself by writing 
German poetry, which has been carefiiUy preserved, 
and was a model of propriety to the fair commu- 
nity over whom she presided. A few years passed 
by, and Augustus found himself likely to be involved 
in a war with no less an opponent than Charles 
XII. In this dilemma he remembered the ta- 
lents of the fair recluse, and there is every reason 
to believe he did not forget her charms. He 
prevailed on her, in 1702, to go from him to the 
King of Sweden, on a diplomatic mission. But 
such an old soldier as Charles XII. was not to be de- 
luded. He would not grant an interview to the 
beautiful ambassador: on hearing this, she said, 
with an air of pleasantry, that she was very un- 
lucky to be the only person in the world on whom 
that great prince would turn his back. On re- 
turning to Saxony she again devoted herself to 
her son, wh.o well repaid her attention. He is 
known in history as the celebrated commander, 
Maurice Marshal Count Saxe. Sir Nathaniel 
Wraxhall, in his amusing recollections, mentions 
having met with a Count Liewen, in Sweden. 
He had visited the Countess Konigsmark, at the 
abbey of Quedlinburg, and stated, " that her person 


ivas then wonderfully attractive, though she was in 
the decline of life." To the Baron de Pollnitz has 
been attributed a little romance, much quoted in 
its dav, founded on her storv, entitled " La Saxe 
Galante \ but a more trustworthy authority is 
Cramers " Leben der Aurora von Konijjsmark." 

VOL, I. (I 


Employment of Sophia Dorothea after Count Konigsmark*s 
departure — His reported disappearance — Her anxiety — 
Countess Platen obtains possession of his papers — ^The use 
she makes of them — The Elector and the Duke of Zelle 
excited against the Princess — Intrigues of Bemstorf — 
Platen* s disgraceful conduct to Sophia Dorothea — Her grief 
on being informed by him of the fate of Konigsmark — The 
Crown Prince of Hanover at Berlin — Is persuaded by his 
sister to do justice to his consort — His letter intercepted — 
The Princess is directed to quit Hanover — Her parting from 
her children — Mademoiselle Eneaebeck arrested and closely 
examined — Is imprisoned in the castle of Schartzfeld — ^Effects 
her escape — A reconciliation proposed to Sophia Dorothea, 
through the medium of Count Platen — His offensive be* 
haviour — She takes the Sacrament in confirmation of her 
innocence — Her father's cruelty towards her — ^Reconcilia- 
tion again proposed — Hesitation of the Princess — She con- 
a]iilts Bemstorf— His crafty conduct. 

a 2 



As soon as Count Konigsmark left the Prin- 
cess she began to employ herself in packing up 
her jewels, and making the necessary preparations 
for her journey. She was thus engaged all night; 
her labour frequently interrupted by ominous fore- 
bodings, arising out of her reflections on the 
forged note that had led the Count, . at so unsea- 
sonable an hour, to her apartments. Her dis- 
quietude was greatly increased by learning, early 
in the morning, that some of the Count's servants 
were waiting in the street, and she quickly 
ascertained that their master had not been 
seen by any of his domestics since he entered the 
palace on the previous night. She was also made 
acquainted with a circumstance of a more alarm- 
ing character, which was a domiciliary visit and 


seizure of all his papers. This intelligence made 
the Princess extremely uneasy, for among his 
correspondence were many letters she had written 
to him, in which she knew she had expressed her- 
self with more freedom than was prudent. 

Anxiety for heraelf, however, soon gave place 
to fears for him. Her only hope was that he had 
got timely knowledge of the proceedings that were 
to be taken against him, and had made his escape ; 
but she could gain no information that would 
warrant such a conjecture, and remained a 
prey to the most fearful anxieties and fore- 

It was quite true, that shortly after the death 
of the unfortunate Konigsmark, his residence bad 
been entered and searched, at the suggestion of 
the Countess Platen. The weak-minded Elector 
appears to have been quite bewildered by the 
responsibility he had incurred ; and although he 
had just had such convincing proof of the rninh 
chief that must arise fix)m permitting his mistress 
to meddle in state affiurs, he allowed the Count's 
papers to remain in her possession, to abide her 
report of their nature and tendency. This peiv 
mission was of vast importance to her, for it 



enabled her to get possession of her own letters, 
which would have criminated herself, and to bring 
forward such documents as might be employed as 
evidence against the illustrious lady whom she 
regarded Avith so malignant a hatred. The letters 
of the Princess to Count Konigsmark abounded 
with expressions which, although they showed 
nothing beyond a sense of security in her corre- 
spondent's devotion to her interests, with all a 
warm-hearted woman's eloquent gratitude for this 
sympathy for the sufferings and wrongs she was 
forced to endure, might be made to assume the 
aspect of an illicit passion. 

But it could not be denied they possessed other 
features, which, if properly employed, might bear 
strongly against the writer. They contained 
severe reflections upon the female coterie that 
governed the Elector and his son, both of whom 
were alluded to in terms far from respectful. The 
Princess ^Iso occasionaUy mentioned her father, 
with such strictures on the barbarity of his con- 
duct towards her as he had but too well deserved. 
But the most injurious portion of these commu- 
nications mentioned her intended flight to Wol- 
fenbiittel; a project which the wily Countess 


knew would sooner than anything completely pre- 
judice the jealous Elector against her. 

All these apparently criminatory portions of the 
papers of the slaughtered Colonel of the Guard, 
the Countess laid before her sovereign, with the 
most inflammatory comments. The design of his 
daughter-in-law to seek an asylum with the hated 
Duke Anthony Ulrich, did all the mischief that 
was expected from it. Count Platen was com- 
manded to proceed instantly to Zelle, to acquaint 
the Duke and Duchess of the criminal proceed- 
ings in which their daughter was involved. Of 
coui-se the Count gave his own version of what 
had transpired, and in mentioning to the Duke 
the discovered correspondence of the Princess 
with Kouigsmark, he dilated on the derogatory 
expressions she had employed to stigmatise her 
father, with a degree of loyal indignation worthy 
only of so practised a courtier. The Duke of 
Zelle founcl his self-love wounded to the quick, 
and became e;ctremely indignant, and veiy greatly 
incensed. He proved himself just the easy 
dupe he was expected to be, and breathed 
nothing but denunciations against his innocent 
and unhapj)y chikL 


The Duchess heard the evil tidings with a 
heart smote with grief for the situation in which 
her daughter was placed. She knew too well the 
character of the infamous clique by which the 
Princess was surrounded, to believe more of the 
specious tale she had heard than sufficed to show 
the very hazardous position in which she now 
was. The distracted mother presently hastened 
to Bemstorf. She forgot all the humiliations the 
man had made hor endure — «he forgot the un- 
worthy artifices by which he had so long acted as 
a ready agent of the infamous Platens — she 
thought only of the influence he possessed with 
her consort, and that he might be prevailed on to 
exert it at the court of Hanover, to rescue her 
beloved child from the destruction that threatened 
her, and she offered the sordid traitor a consider- 
able bribe to induce him to interfere. Bemstorf 
chuckled in his hollow heart at the humbled tone 
of his once imperious mistressj but he avoided 
pledging himself to do what was required of him, 
though he promised his best exertions, deferring 
further consideration of the subject till the 
Princess had been heard in her own defence. 


This appeal, as might have been expected, was 
perfectly unprofitable. 

While Count Platen was at Zelle, letters arrived 
from the Princess to her parents, urging them, in 
the most passionate terms, to come forward for 
her protection, and not abandon her to her mis- 
fortunes; but they made no impression on the 
sullen and vindictive father, and the mother found 
herself perfectly powerless to stir hand or foot in 
her daughter's favour. 

After the Elector had himself examined the 
papers of the deceased Count, he expressed his 
conviction that his daughter-in-law was innocent 
of any improper intimacy with Eonigsmark, and 
that her letters proved only that her feelings 
had been greatly excited, and that she had 
received erroneous impressions, which she had 
much too hastily ventured to express.* She 

* These letters of Sophia Dorothea were preserred till the 
year 1732, when the ** HUtoire Secrete de la Dueheue eTHa' 
nouvre** appeared, and created considerable sensation, as the 
object of this publication appeared to be to defend Bemstorf, 
then recently deceased. We shall presently have to relate 
what became of them. 


was, however, placed under strict surveillance. 
This did not prevent her from making an 
application to her father-in-law not to with- 
draw his favour from her, and to allow her to 
retire to the territory of Zelle. In return, she 
received a courteous reply, that promised nothing, 
and made known nothing respecting her fate. 

Shortly after this. Count Platen returned from 
his embassy to Zelle, where, with the assistance of 
his equally unprincipled coadjutor, Bemstorf, he 
had succeeded in making on the weak mind of the 
Duke of Zelle such an impression of the uniilial 
conduct of his daughter to him, and of her dis- 
graceful connexion with Count Konigsmark, that 
they easily obtained his consent to a separation 
between her and the Crown Prince. Count Platen 
did not fail to represent the result of his em- 
bassy in as unfavourable a light as possible, which 
so greatly prejudiced the Elector against the 
Princess, that he sent her word she had so grossly 
misconducted herself he could no longer permit 
her to remain at his court, but should send her 
back to Zelle. A determination that was very 
far from being regarded with dissatisfaction. 


Count Platen was commissioned to deliver this 
message, but with the insolence of the con^ 
temptible scoundrel be was, he could not resist 
the opportunity of insulting the victim of his 
wanton wife's machinations, and addressed to her 
a question respecting her alleged criminal inti- 
macy with Konigsmark of the most revolting 
character. The spirit of a Princess of the House 
of Brunswick was not to be trampled on by so 
mean a wretch as this, and she scornfully answered 
she imagined he mistook her for his own wife, 
whose intrigue with the Colonel of the Guards, 
and its awkward consequences, were matters of 
the most public notoriety. Hitherto the Princess 
had been kept in entire ignorance of the fate of 
Konigsmark ; but Platen, stung by the retort he 
had just heard, in brutal terms, mentioned that 
the Count, on leaving her apartments after mid- 
night, had been killed in resisting bis arrest, by the 
Electors orders. 

This was a stunning blow to the poor Princess, 
and it completely deprived her of all sense of pru- 
dence and self-control. There cannot be a ques- 
tion of her being free from any guilty passion for 
the unfortunate Colonel of the Guards ; but she 


had known him from childhood, and he had al- 
ways appeared to her one of the most faithful and 
devoted of the very few friends she possessed ; 
and to learn that she had been the cause of his 
losing his life gave, in her present excited state, 
a dreadful shock to her feelings, and she burst 
out in a torrent of passionate lamentations, that 
afforded, in the opinion of her cowardly insulter, 
the most convincing proof of her improper inti- 
macy with the Count. Her active and unrelent- 
ing enemies made a great deal of these exclama- 
tions in their report to the Elector and to his 
brother, which increased the prejudice both had 
been made to entertain. 

A short time previously to these transactions 
the Crown Prince had proceeded to Berlin on a 
visit to his sister and brother-in-law, the Queen 
and King of Prussia. The Queen of Prussia re- 
monstrated with him on the unjustifiable conduct 
be had pursued towards his unhappy consort* 
and so wrought upon his feelings that he was ior 
duced to write to his neglected wife, desiring a 
reconciliation. This letter must have fallen into 
the hands of the Platens ; for when the Princess 
heard that the return of the Crown Prince was 


expected, she again urged her desire to leave 
Hanover. It was represented by her enemies 
that this impatience to be gone, because her hus- 
band's return was expected, after he had written 
so affectionate a communication, was undoubted 
evidence of her guilt. But instead of being ashamed 
to meet her consort, of whose wishes for a reconci- 
liation it is presumed she knew nothing, she was 
most probably in that state of agony of mind from 
the excitement she had undergone, that, dreading 
fresh insults from one from whom insults had be- 
come familiar to her, she had become nervously 
anxious to remove out of his way. 

Seeing this determination in his daughter-in^ 
law, the Elector deputed Count Platen to acquaint 
the Princess, that she might leave Hanover. 
She lost no time in making the necessary 
preparations; but the most trying ordeal she 
had tQ go through was in taking her farewell of 
her children. Prince George was about ten yelurs 
old, and Princess Sophia Dorothea eight, and 
they had from their birth been the chief solace 
and gratification of their unhappy mother. Her 
attention to them had been incessant, her love to 
them unbounded; many bitter tears had been 


sbed over them, and more, much more, the hap- 
piness their presence inspired had kept unshed. 
Now it was her hard lot to part from them, most 
probably for ever, — to leave them in the hands of 
her enemies, who would be sure to turn their 
childish love into scorn and aversion. This was a 
terrible grief; the most unpalatable drop in the 
cup of bitterness that had been prepared for her. 
But to her great relief the parting with her chil- 
dren was deferred on various pretexts, having for 
their object a reconciliation between the Princess 
and her consort 

She was not allowed another interview with her 
faithful friend and confidant Mademoiselle Knese- 
beck had been arrested and kept a close prisoner, 
and subjected to long and severe cross-examina- 
tions ;* but her evidence was conclusive of the 
entire innocence of her royal mistress of any im- 
proper intimacy with the Colonel of the Guards. 
Notwithstanding suqh was her testimony, and. no 
charge whatever could be brought against this 
lady, the animosity of the Platens had been so 
strongly excited by her devotion to the Princess, 

* The questions put to her, with their answers, may be 
seen in Cramer's Aurora von Konigsmark, vol. i. p. 76. 


that tbey caused her to be kept in confinement, 
which most probably would have lasted her life 
had not her prison, the Castle Schartzfeld on the 
Harz, been discovered by her friends, who devised 
a plan for her liberation. 

The castle in which Mademoiselle Knesebeck was 
immured was garrisoned by veterans and invalids, 
and her only attendant was a soldier's wife. Her 
health suffered much, and though wine was ordered 
for her by the doctor permitted to visit her, she 
could obtain only some common German spirit 
mixed with water. After the prisoner had been 
there several years, the roof of the building, 
particularly over her chamber, being in a veiy 
dilapidated state, and a tiler happening to come 
into the neighbourhood, he was engaged to make 
the necessary repairs. 

Mademoiselle Knesebeck one day was attracted 
by a knocking over her head, and looking up disco- 
vered a hole in the roof, through which a man's 
iace was visible. Her alarm was soon allayed, 
and turned to the most intense gratification, on 
the stranger making known to her, that in the 
disguise of a tiler repairing the roof, he was a 
friend, whose sole object there was to effect her 


rescue. They soon came to an understanding; and 
on the first favourable opportuuity Mademoiselle 
Knesebeck was drawn by ropes through the hole in 
the roof, and thence lowered till she found herself 
on her feet outside the prison wails. She fled to 
Wolfenbiittel, where she was in perfect safety. 
Mademoiselle Knesebeck never again saw her be- 
loved mistress, but a few yeai-s subsequently she had 
the honour of being taken into the service of her 
daughter when Queen of Prussia, for whose in- 
formation she drew up an account of what she 
knew of the sufferings of the Princess Sophia 

The commandant of the castle, when told his pri- 
soner was no where to be found, appears to have 
been exceedingly puzzled, and partook of the 
superstitious dread which her disappearance cre- 
ated amongst the garrison, for in his report to 
the minister at Hanover, he states that the pri- 
soner had fled, in all probability, through the air, 
with an evil spirit in the disguise of a tiler, — no 
other way of escape being possible, — as evidence 
of which, he added there was still to be seen the 
hole in the roof, whicli, in consequence of the 
mystery connected with it, every tiler who had 

VOL. I. R 


been applied to, had refused attempting to re* 

We most return from the ladj in waiting to 
her less fortunate mistress. Although such cun- 
ning use had been made of everything that could 
in any way be brought against the Princess Sophia 
Dorothea, neither the Elector nor his consort was 
satisfied of her criminality with Count Konigsmark; 
and they appeared desirous of effecting a reconcilia- 
tion between her and her husband. A deputation, 
headed by Count Platen, consequently waited 
upon the Princess with the ostensible object of 
endeavouring to accommodate matters. Even 
had such a negociation been entrusted to more 
respectable hands, it is very doubtful if it would 
have succeeded. The Princess had had more 
than enough of the Hanoverian court. Her 
dearest feelings had been outraged — she had been 
grossly insulted, slandered, and abused — the friend 
of her childhood, the only person, with the excep- 
tion of Mademoiselle Knesebeck, she could regard 
as a friend, had been slaughtered almost at her door 
— ^her lady in waiting had been imprisoned, and 
herself, though the consort of the Crown Prince, 
had been wronged by the vilest accusations. 


She knew that while the state of things con- 
tinued, which had produced the evils under which 
she suffered, no confidence could be placed in 
any friendly proposals from the court, and her 
mind had become so disorganised by the shock 
she had received, that the very idea of continuing 
to live under such circumstances was exceedingly 
repugnant to her. But to send a person so dis- 
tasteful to her as Count Platen, charged with a 
mission requiring so much delicacy and good 
taste, was a fatal oversight. For, in the firat 
place, the Princess was indisposed to pay any at- 
tention to so contemptible a messenger, and in 
the next, the prime minister was extremely 
averse to anything likely to lead to the re-esta- 
blishment of harmony in the royal family, and 
would very readily do all in his power to pre- 
vent it. 

Count Platen entered upon his embassy in a 
manner as offensive as possible, and omitted no- 
thing likely to render more secure the resolution 
the Princess had taken. Determined not to miss 
an opportunity of insulting her, he began by 
putting two questions to her; the first was — 

B 2 


^ Whether she had lived in illicit intercourse 
with the late Count Konigsmark ?" 

She treated this unmanly insult ^vith a calm, 
contempt. The second question was — 

'' Had she, regardless of the feelings of the 
Electoral family, determined on quitting the 
court to seek refuge with the sovereign of Wolfen- 

To this she replied, ** She had intended in the 
first instance seeking her mother, and should she 
be denied the consolation she required, she un- 
doubtedly had it in contemplation to withdraw 
herself from the Crown Prince, and seek an asylum 
in the dominions of Duke Anthony Ulrich.** Re- 
specting the other question, to which she then 
thought proper to pay some attention, she an* 
swered in a manner that produced a powerful im- 
pression in her favour, denying solemnly the 
slightest thought of such a crime, and requesting, 
as a proof of her. innocence, that the holy sacra- 
ment might be administered to her. 

This interview was reported to the Elector and 
his consort, who seemed gratified at the readiness 
of the calumniated Princess, to test the truth of 


her declaration of innocence, in a way so unan- 
swerable. The Countess Platen interposed, and 
affected to be quite sliocked at such hardihood. 
She laboured to convince her sovereign, that com- 
pliance with such a request was out of the ques- 
tion, and that so sacred a religious rite would sink 
into contempt if employed under such circum- 
btances, as she was in possession of the most posi- 
tive testimony of the guilt of the Princess. The 
Elector was disposed, as for as he dared, to act 
justly by his daughter-in-law, and, previously to 
taking any further proceedings, he despatched a 
messenger to inquire the opinion of his brother 
the Duke of Zelle. The Countess, by the same 
hand, conveyed secret instructions to Bemstorf, 
as to his line of conduct in such an emergency. 

Bernstorf strove hard to win his dirty wages, 
but for once the heart of the father rose superior 
to the sophistry of the traitor in whom he reposed 
such confidence : he declared that his daugh- 
ter's request was not to be refused, because in his 
territories, every one was at^liberty to make a simi- 
lar solicitation. 

Compliance with the wishes of the Princess was 
therefore resolved on, and care was now taken to 


render the ceremony as solemn and impressive 9B 
possible. An altar was erected in one of the 
Princess's apartments, and the chief officers of the 
Courts of Zelle and Hanover were assembled to 
witness the sacred service. A clergyman com- 
menced the proceedings with a most effective 
address, that should have touched the consciences 
of the most sinful of his congregation. After this 
the Princess, in a spirit evidently of the most fer- 
vent humility and devotion, partook of the holy 
communion. Among the unprejudiced portion of 
the spectators but one feeling existed, and this was 
entirely in favour of the Princess ; but great ex- 
citement was created amongst them when they 
observed the Princess, at the conclusion of the 
ceremony, turn to Count Platen, whom she re- 
quested to solicit his wife to testify /ter innocence 
by partaking of the sacrament as she had done. 
. Here it might be supposed the cause of truth 
and innocence would have triumphed, Si)ut the 
sufferings of the Princess were far from being at 
an end. Bigotry and intolerance, folly and re- 
venge, treachery and slander, were hard at work, 
striving to effect the ruin of this noble lady. 
Desperately intent on consummating their wicked 


designs were the worthless crew who were banded 
against her ; but of all her enemies, and amongst 
them he most assuredly must be classed, none was 
so implacable as her father. This shallow-witted 
animal allowed himself to be the dupe of his faith- 
less prime minister, and all the solicitations of his 
admirable wife only elicited the unfeeling reply — 
" that the time had gone by when assistance could 
have been rendered the Princess, and she would 
have no one to reproach but hei-self were she 
treated in the manner most persons anticipated." 

The Elector was more rational, and affected 
some consideration for his son's consort Whether 
he entertained any compunctious yisitings for the 
insulting treatment she had received, or was afiraid, 
by carrying things on too hastily, that his long- 
cherished project of imiting the dominions of the 
two families might be set aside, cannot be proved ; 
but it is more than probable that he was embar- 
rassed by his regrets for the past» and his fears for 
the future,which induced him to make another ef- 
fort at conciliation. This, however, was put forth in 
a shape that the Princess thought could not under 
the circumstances be recognised by her — ^it appear- 
ed in a message to the effect that would she only 


humble herself to acknowledge that she had pro- 
ceeded too far against her husband, and would 
promise to live ^nth him under the influence of a 
better spirit, everything should be forgotten, and 
her Highness be replaced in .her former position. 

Although her agreeing to this would be pro- 
nouncing her own condemnation, the amiable dis- 
position of the Princess was touched by the appa- 
rent kindness of the message, and she hesitated in 
giving her answer. Her fathers confidential 
counsellor, Bernstorf, was in Hanover at this 
period, and the rash thought presented itself to 
her mind of applying to him for advice. She knew 
not the plotting traitor she was so ready to take 
into her confidence ; she remembered only, that 
the man was accounted shrewd and able, and that 
her father thought him a phoenix amongst states- 
men, called him to her counsels and requested his 

The paid agent of the Platens did not take 
long to decide. He knew the sentiments of his 
employers, and believed it most to his interests to 
serve them, no matter to what fate he was hurry- 
ing the daughter of his sovereign. He therefore 
affected a vast degree of sincerity, and an edifying 


air of mingled indignation and sympathy, and 
urgently advised her not to humble herself, because 
by so doing she would confess having been in the 
wrong, but to continue her requests for a separa- 
tion, because he could assure her, from her father, 
that he would receive her, and would not allow of 
her living henceforth under the tyramiy of the 
Crown Prince. 

This artful and most delusive advice had all 
the effect expected from it. It was eagerly em- 
braced by the unhappy sufferer, whose feelings had 
been too grossly outraged to allow of her knowing 
any sense of security, should she return to those 
domestic enjoyments of which she had been so 
long and shamefully deprived ; she therefore began 
to complain of the harsh treatment she had expe- 
rienced from the Elector, in forbidding her to 
appear at court ; and stated, that neither at this 
time, nor at any future period, would she consent 
to live again with the Crown Prince, but that she 
preferred living with her parents. 

This determination caused quite a commotion 
among all the persecutors of the Princess. They 
at once agreed to let her have her own way as far 
as the Crown Prince was concerned, but her wish 


to live with her parents met with uniyersal oppo- 
sition. The Elector disallowing it at the instiga- 
tion of the Countess Platen, the Crown Prince op- 
posing it through the representations of Mademoi- 
selle Schulenburg, and the Duke of Zelle, under 
the auspices of the watchful Bemstorf, denying it 
with various unfeeling observations, that spoke as 
little in recommendation of his head as of his heart 


The Princess Sophia Dorothea is tried hy a Consistorial Court 
— Its composition and duties — Its efforts to bring about 
an adjustment of the differences of the Crown Prince and 
his Consort — The Princess leaves Hanover for Laueuau — 
Case of the Crown Prince — Its weakness — Declaration of 
the Princess — Failure of the attempt at reconciliation — In« 
terview of the Officers of the Court with the Princess — 
Sentence of divorce — Letter from Sophia Dorothea to her 
soHcitoT — ^Arrangement between the Elector and the Duke 
of Zelle respecting the destination and maintenance of 
Sophia Dorothea — ^Anxiety of her fiither-in-law to retain 
her possessions — Conduct of her father — Satisfaction of 
Sophia Dorothea in being freed from her husband. 



The great point to be considered now was, how 
to get rid of the Princess with the greatest secu- 
rity to the Electoral family, and immense pains 
were taken to find out the proper machinery, and 
render its application as secure as possible. A 
Consistorial Court was established, to be composed 
of lawyers the most learned in the practice of the 
ecclesiastical courts, to be foimd in Zelle and in 
Hanover; and they were to examine into the 
merits and demerits of the Crown Prince and his 
consort, and having heard evidence on both 
sides, were to pronounce whether their case ad- 
mitted of a divorce. Here were materials that 
required rather delicate handling, for, as the 
result proved, it was not thought advisable to 
expose too freely the misconduct of the heir to 
the Electorate, and there existed a ddsire to 
avoid offence to the Duke of Zelle, by in- 


sisting too violently upon the alleged intrigues of 
his (laughter. Both husband and \nfe, therefore, 
were to be treated with consideration, and the case 
for interference was to be made out, by incom- 
patibility of temper in the Prince and his consort, 
and a mutual desire to dissolve their matrimonial 

Considerable solemnity was given to the aspect 
of this court, and much was attempted to show 
that the Princess should obtain justice ; but Httle 
penetration was required to see that it was but an 
elaborate trick to put unchallenged upon a de- 
fenceless and innocent woman, as large a measure 
of tyranny as could have been perpetrated under 
a government of the most despotic character. 

As these proceedings, it was expected, would 
take up some time, and the Princess was urgent 
to leave Hanover, permission was granted for her 
to set out on her journey, and after a most aifect- 
ing interview with her children, whence she was 
carried in a state of insensibility to her carriage, 
she left the dominions of her father-in-law, and 
there is little doubt, notwithstanding the wretched- 
ness of mind caused by her parting with the very few 
beings for whom she felt any regard, and the grief 


she felt for the death of Konigsmark, she expe- 
rienced a sensible gratification in passing its 
boundaries. She was conveyed into the Duchy 
of Zelle, but Avithout being allowed to hold any 
communication with her parents, and her destina- 
tion for the present vms Lauenau. 

Towards the end of August, 1694, the consis- 
torial court was organized. M. Busche was ap- 
pointed president, with four judges on the part of 
Hanover, and as many on the part of Zelle. 
Scarcely had their proceedings commenced, when, 
on the 18th of September, Counsellor Livius, in 
the name of the Crown Prince, exhibited what 
we must designate as articles of complaint, to the 
effect that the Princess, his consort, had, in her 
conduct towards him, evinced neither love nor 
obedience — that she had left her home to visit her 
parents at Bruckhausen, to whom she had made 
unfounded complaints against him, but her father 
having admonished her and advised her return, 
sh^ had driven past Hermhausen, the sunmier re- 
sidence of the Electoral family, where every pre- 
paration had been made for her reception, and 
gone on to Hanover — ^that he, the said Crown 
Prince, had subsequently frequently visited her. 


and had written an afTectlonate letter to her from 
Berlin, yet had failed in effecting any alteration 
in the disposition towards him of the Princess, his 
said consort, who, when made aware of his ex- 
pected return, became the more eager to travel to 
the territory of Zelle. Consequently the Princess, 
his said consort, had intentionally abandoned him, 
the said Crown Prince, and had, moreover, ex- 
pressed a determination never henceforth to live 
with him, in which determination it was evident 
she was sincere. A separation of marriage was 
therefore prayed for. 

We believe so weak a case was never brought into 
an ecclesiastical court. It is scarcely possible to 
regard without astonishment the studied conceal- 
ment in this complaint of the various accusations 
which had led to and arose out of the sanguinary tra- 
gedy enacted in the hall of the electoral palace. 
Konigsmark appears to be entirely forgotten. 
The insinuations, nay, even the undoubted proofs — 
as they were impudently styled — of the Countess 
Platen, had been passed unnoticed. The homely 
proverb, " That they who live in glass-houses 
should not throw stones," was in this instance most 
religiously respected. The slaughter of the 


Colonel of the Guards occasioned some inquiry, 
and the examinations of the Princess, her lady in 
waiting, and one of the yeomen of the guards, 
elicited that a forged letter had invited the Count 
to the apartments of the Princess, and that the 
Countess Platen had been seen to rifle the corpse, 
and take su6h a paper from his possession. Not- 
withstanding a great deal of clever explanations 
and representations from the Countess, the aflair 
began to assume a very ugly aspect as far as she 
was concerned, and as the establishment of her 
criminality would have had an awkward effect on 
both the Elector and his son, it was judged ex- 
pedient to say as little in reference to so dan- 
gerous a subject as possible. 

The Crown Prince, it may also be remarked, 
made another omission, that might have equally 
affected the complexion of the case — he said no- 
thing of his insulting neglect, and of his notorious 
intrigues, and he bad passed over in silence the 
brutal conduct that had driven his unhappy con- 
sort from his roof to seek the consolation and ad- 
vice of her parents. But Counsellor Livius was 
well aware of what he was about ; he had per- 
mitted his clients case to appear a very weak one, 

VOL. I. s 


because had he referred either to the alleged mis- 
conduct of either plaintiff or defendant, it would 
have damaged it most effectually. 

After this, Bulow, grand marshal of the Court, 
and Thies, the counsellor of the Court, acting as 
Sophia Dorothea's solicitor, proceeded to Lauenau, 
by the direction of the Duke of Zelle, to receive 
the instructions of the Princess, and obtain her 
declaration whether she intended returning to 
her consort, or would submit her cause to the de- 
cision of the consistorial court. This declaration 
was thus expressed : — 

" By the grace of God, Sophia Dorothea, &c. 

** Since our illustrious husband, George Lewis, 
Crown Prince of Hanover, has caused to be de- 
livered to the matrimonial court in Hanover 
constituted to try this case by our father and 
iather-in-law, a complaint of desertion against 
us, and has requested a complete separation of 
marriage between our husband and us, as we 
have learned from this complaint^ and a commu- 
nication from the court that made it known to 
us ; and since our lord and lather has sent to us 
his president and grand marshal of the court, 


von BuIoWy at this place, that we might make 
known what we thought best, according to our 
comprehension respecting such complaint of de- 
sertion, and that we should instruct for that pur- 
pose the counsellor of the court, Rudolph Thies, in 
order to convey our declaration to the said matrimo- 
nial court for its information, leaving the circum- 
stances mentioned by the attorney of our lord and 
husband undisturbed. We declare, for the rest, as 
we well understand our intention, and in accordance 
with the contents of the aforesaid complaint, have 
well and freely considered it, that we still adhere 
to our oft-repeated resolution never to cohabit 
matrimonially with our husband, and that we de- 
sire nothing so much as that separation of mar- 
riage requested by our husband may take place. 
And thereupon we herewith empower and com- 
mand our solicitor, the counsellor of the court 
Thies, to present this our declaration in answer to 
the letter of the 20th of September, 1694, sent to 
us by the aforesaid court. 

In witness whereof we have signed this with 
our hand, and fixed to it our seal 

(Signed) Sophia Dorothea. 

Lauenau, September 26, 1694. 

s 2 


This declaration was commanicated to the 
proper quarter ; but, affcer a debate amongst the 
lawyers, it was not judged sufficient. Thies again 
waited on the Princess at Lauenau, on the 24th 
of October, with a document to which she was 
required to give her consent ; and although it was 
expressed in a manner that surprised her, from 
some alteration being made in her title, she, in 
the expectation of expediting the business, gave 
it her sanction. Even this concession helped 
them but little, and the lawyers thought an ar- 
rangement out of court would be the most sen- 
sible conclusion to proceedings in which in court 
they did not see their way very clearly. 

In the hope of producing a reconciliation, the 
President Busche and the Superintendent Molan 
were deputed to wait on the Princess. On an- 
nouncing their names they were immediately ad- 
mitted The Princess received them courteouslv, 
but vrith a dignified bearing that equally became 
her birth and her innocence. 

.We learn from excellent authority that the 
President commenced by explaining the object 
of the visits and stated that the consLsto- 
rial court had been much surprised by the con- 


tents of the communication that had been laid 
before it, particularly as to the determination of 
her highness not to live with her consort, for 
which no reason had been given ; but being well 
aware what disadvantage to her cause might be 
produced by an intention so hostile, what grief 
she would cause her parents, and to what extent 
she would injure her reputation, while by acting 
difterently, how readily she might regain her 
princely rank, they could not but advise her to 
return to her husband, — a proceeding which 
mature reflection would show was greatly to be 
recommended, and let it not be forgotten, he 
added, was commanded by religion. 

While his worthy principal took breath, M. 
Molan entered into a dissertation on the duties 
of matrimony, showing how firmly every one was 
bound by them, and proving, or at least endea- 
vouring to prove, that married people could not 
separate without the intervention of the Almighty. 
Should such separation be attempted independ- 
ently of the Divine will, — ^he was so good as to 
say,— it must create the displeasure of the Deity, 
as has been recorded in the Epistle of Paul to 
the Corinthians, chap. vii. verse 10, which shows 


what peril is incurred by those who act in oppo- 
sition to such Divine ordinances. 

The Princess listened patiently and respect- 
fully, remarking that these were very good argu- 
ments, but she yearned for a life of peace, and 
though by her firmness she might be the greater 
suiFerer, it was her intention to adhere to her de- 
termination as one most for the benefit of her 
soul. She had, she said, loved the world too 
much, and since Providence had led her away 
from it, and she found the change salutary, she 
resolved, though it was a severe punishment, not 
to return to the Crown Prince. 

There was, or rather there appeared to be, a 
vast sacrifice in this voluntary abandonment on 
the part of a Princess by birth, of the honours 
and advantages of her high station; but there 
must also be taken into consideration the hu- 
miliating position with which such distinctions 
were to be worn. She could not endure beam- 
ing a cipher in the train of the Platen clique, and 
her soul having been chafed so long by their in- 
trigues, she longed ardently to live at peace, as 
far removed as possible from an atmosphere so 


The reasons of the Princess Sophia Dorothea 
for withdrawing herself from such a court there 
could be no questioning, yet the two eminent 
members of the consistorial court appeared very 
much to call them in question. The Superintendent 
Molan then remarked, '* Your highness may 
be taking a premature resolution." 

" No," replied the Princess, " it has long been 
forced upon me, has been sufficiently considered, 
and therefore might well be adhered to.** 

Mr Superintendent thought this still open to 
doubt, because the more he became acquainted 
with the whole affair the more confirmed was he 
in his opinion. The subject he was satisfied was 
an important one. Moreover if some unjust re- 
flections had been made, they might be corrected. 

Probably this was an allusion to the infamous 
slanders of the Platens, and held out a promise of 
justice to their unhappy victim. 

" The subject," continued the speaker, " might 
not have been duly considered, because marriage 
was not like other contracts, the work of man, 
but of the Almighty, and His commands should 
be obeyed, for each party would be obliged to 
appear before His tribunal and submit to His 


judgment of their conduct. Besides which, the 
duties of a mother were to be considered, as well 
as how greatly the loss of the Princess would be 
felt by her young children. 

** There were other consequences of a separsr 
tion,** continued the wily advocate, placing in re- 
view all the pains an<l penalties the Princess 
might draw upon herself " as the culpable party 
would not be permitted a second union, though 
this privilege would be allowed to the other side." 

This was :is much as to say that the poor 
victim of the heartless conduct of her husband 
and his infamous associates, would be denied the 
liberty of marrying again, although it was intended 
such denial should not extend to the Crown 
Prince. That she would be " the culpable party," 
was sufRcieutly manifest^ notwithstanding the im- 
possibility of establishing against her a shadow of 
guilt ; but this threat had no effect upon her. 
She had had such experience of marriage as left 
her with a positive disgust of any second experi- 
ment of the kind, and as to the re-marriage of 
her consort, she seemed careless of everything but 
of getting entirely rid of him. 

After these formidable threats, M. Molan re* 


marked that the Princess was still joung, and might 
live in grandeur for many years, would she comply 
with the wishes of the court and the commands of 
the Almighty, by returning to her proper position, 
and submitting to reasonable control. He sug- 
gested that the affair ought to be reconsidered, 
under the influence of fervent prayer, in which a 
clergyman was to assist. In conclusion, he reite- 
rated his remarks on the importance of considera- 
tion, and insisted that no one ought to persist in 
a line of conduct that might hurry him or her 
into misfortunes. 

" There is still time," he added, " and it will be 
praiseworthy to abandon a resolution once formed, 
when it is clearly perceptible some part of it is in 
direct opposition to the will of the Creator. And 
in this case it is requisite not to adhere obsti- 
nately to one's OAvn opinion, in the belief that the 
favour of Providence could not be forfeited, be- 
cause thoughts are only deceits of the flesh, 
which for our own benefit ought never to be al- 
lowed to run on and become too powerftd.** 

Not even these admonitions, including the 
threats, and warnings, and promises the deputation 
held out, could shake the resolution of the Prin- 


cess. She never wavered, but continued to aver 
that she should be better able to sen-e the Al- 
mighty by remaining alone. At last, finding that 
their exertions to affect an accommodation were 
completely misplaced, they took their departure. 

There can scarcely be a doubt that this move- 
ment was secretly directed by the Elector and 
his heir, to get themselves out of the false posi- 
tion, by which, through their entanglements with 
the vile women with whom they were connected, 
they had l)een placed. But if they were sincere 
in their desire to act justly towards the persecuted 
Princess, they should have shown it by dismissing 
the infamous coterie that had caused her suffer- 
ings. This it was evident they had neither the 
courage to volunteer, nor the inclination to do ; 
and it was clear enough that the Princess had no- 
thing to hope from the specious arguments for her 
return to her outraged home their agents liad 
made to her. The unsuccessful result of the de- 
putation must have been a most galling annoyance 
to the Crown Prince, and in a mind of his narrow 
capacity it must have produced a decided increase 
of those hostile feelings, with which his innocent 
consort had so long been regarded — which hosti- 


lity, with the, doggedness belonging to his cha- 
racter, he continued to nourish through the re- 
mainder of his life. 

A report of the conversation that passed be- 
tween the Princess and the deputation was given 
to the solicitor of the Crown Prince on the 1st of 
December, and, a pretty good proof that no fur- 
ther delay was deemed necessary, two days sub- 
sequently he directed a document to be given into 
court, praying for the completion of the desired 
separation of marriage. The judges then requested 
the soUcitor of the Princess to make this commu- 
nication known to her, that she might put in her 
final answer ; but her highness chose to produce a 
written declaration insisting on her testimony, 
and her legal adviser was told not to enter 
into any further discussion. However, notwith- 
standing this, after both counsel had been called 
before the court on the 28th of December, the 
following sentence was made known to them. 

" In the matrimonial suit of the illustrious 
Prince George Lewis, Crown Prince of Hanover, 
against his consort the illustrious Princess Sophia 
Dorothea, &c., we constituted president and judges 
of the matrimonial court of the Electorate and 
Duchy of Brunswick-LUneburg, declare and pro- 


noiince judgment, after attempts have been tried and 
have failed to settle the matter amicably, and in ac- 
cordance with the documents and verbal declara- 
tions of the Princess, and other detailed circum- 
>>tances, we agree that her continued denial of ma- 
trimonial duty and cohabitation is well founded, 
and consequently that it is to be considered an 
intentional desertion. In consequence whereof 
we consider, sentence, and declare the ties of 
matrimony to be entirely dissolved and aimulled. 
Since hi similar cases of desertion it has been per- 
mitted to the innocent party to re-marr}% which the 
other is forbidden, the same judicial power will be 
exercised, in the present instance, in favour of his 
serene highness the Crown Prince. 

" PubUshed in the Consistorial Court at Han- 
over, December 28th, 1694. 

(Signed) " Philip von Bussche. 

" Francis Eichfeld, (Pastor.) 

" Antony George Heldbero. 

" gustavus molan. 

" Gerhardt Abt. 

'' Bern HARD Spilken. 

" Erythropel. 

" David Rupertus. 

" H. L. Hattorf.'* 


Doubts appear to have been quickly enter- 
taiued as to the legality of such a decision, and 
the following memorandum shows that even the 
legal adviser of the Princess required a security 
from proceedings in relation to his connexion with 
her atfairs. 

"* As we have now, after having been made ac- 
quainted with the sentence, given it proper consi- 
deration, and resolved not to offer any opposition 
to it, our solicitor must act accordingly, and is not 
to act or proceed any further in this matter. For 
the rest, we hereby declare that we are gratefully 
content with the conduct of our aforesaid solicitor 
of the Court Tbies, and that by this we free him 
from all responsibility regarding these transactions. 
" (Signed) Sophia Dorothea. 

" Lauenau, December 31st, 1(594" 

The Elector employed every resource to pre- 
vent any disarrangement of that union of the 
two territories he had so set his heart upon. By an 
enactment bearing the date of the 29th of August, 
1 694, it had been agreed by the two illustrious 
brothers that a separation of the marriage of the 
Crown Prince and his consort should be effected, 


the legal measures were stated, and likewise her 
dejstination while the affair \vbs pending. It was also 
therein specified that her domestics should take a 
particular oath, and that the Princess should enjoy 
an animal income of eight thousand thalers, (ex- 
clusive of the wages of her household,) to l>e in- 
cretised one half on the death of her father, with 
a further increase of six thousand thalers on her 
attaining the age of fortv years. It was pn)vided 
that the Cjistle of Ahhien should be her jierma^ 
nent residence, where she was to remain well 
guarded. The domain of Wilhelmsburg, near 
Hamburg, was, at the death of the Duke of Zelle, 
to descend to the Prince, son of the Princess 
Sophia Dorothea — the Crown Prince, during his 
own life, however, retaining the revenues; but 
should the grandson die before his father, the pro- 
perty would then, on payment of a stipulated 
sum, be inherited by the successor in the govern- 
ment of the son of the Elector. By a^ further 
arrangement, the mother of the Princess was to 
possess Wienhausen, with an annual income of 
twelve thousand thalers secured on the estates 
Schamebeck, Garze, and BIuetHngen ; the castle 
of Liineburg to be allowed as her residence from 
the commencement of her widowhood. 


These arrangements show the extreme care 
taken by the politic Elector and his hopeful heir 
to get rid of the young kinswoman they had pre- 
viously exhibited such extraordinary anxiety to l)e 
related to, yet at the same time to grasp more 
finnly the possessions, rights, and privileges she 
had brought into their family by her mamage 
with the Cro^Mi Prince; but the v show more than 
this, for they exhibit the apathy to the interests 
of his daughter displayed by the Duke of Zelle, 
and the extent to which he must have been 
played upon by the Platens, through their agent, 
Bemstorf, before he could have been brought to 
take the active part against her which it is but 
too apparent he did. To what has already been 
stated we have now to add that he was induced to 
promise never to see or hold any communication 
with his repudiated daughter. 

The more we reflect on this man's blindness 
and stupidity, his want of common feeling as w'ell 
as common discernment, the more surprised we 
become. His apologists may say that he was a 
dupe ; but there was no slight degree of crimi- 
nality in his allowing, partly through dread of of- 
fending his brother, and partly from wounded self- 



iove occasioned by the uufilial freedom of his 
(laughters comments, his prejudices to be directe<l 
so forcibly against his only child. But no excuse 
will avail him. We are afraid a just estimate of 
his conduct would place him among the least 
worthy of his species. 

The worst portion of the troubles of the Prin- 
cess Sophia Dorothea concluded with the passing 
of the sentence of separation, or, more proi>erly 
speaking, repudiation. Her sufferings had been 
dreadful, but their very intensity made her better 
able to endure the degradation her enemies had 
prepared for her. Indeed, at first she seemed 
quite to rejoice at the sentence, as an emancipa- 
tion from an intolerable slavery, and proceeded to 
the place appointed for her incarceration — for it 
had been resolved that she should be a prisoner — 
with a sense of freedom and solace to which she 
had long been a stranger. 


The Castle of Ablden, the place of Sophia Dorothea's impri- 
sonment — Iler attendants ail hound by an oath to perform 
the office of spies — Pleasures taken for the prisoner's secn- 
rity — Her employments — Becomes a benefactress to the 
whole neighbourhood — Her correspondence — The Princess 
not allowed to communicate with her children — The Elector 
disposed in her favour — His death — His character — The 
Crown Prince succeeds to the Electorate — His agreements 
with the Duke of Zelle — The Duke's anxiety to see her 
artfully opposed by Bemstorf — Executes a codicil in his 
will in her favour — Will of the Duchess of Zelle — Death of 
the Duke — The son and daughter of Sophia Dorothea — 
Abortive attempt of the Prince to see his mother — Sym- 
pathy of the Princess — Their marriages — Sophia Dorothea 
commimicates with her daughter — ^The Elector's political 
intrigues — His prospects in England — Project to send over 
the Crown Prince — Letter from Queen Anne to the Elector 
in opposition to it — Effects of this communication upon the 
Electress Sophia — Curious particulars of her death by an 
eye witness. > 

VOL. I. 



The place appointed for the constaut prison of 
the disgraced consort of the Crown Prince of 
Hanover was the castle of Ahiden, a small for- 
tress situated on the south bank of the river 
AUer, and it was commanded that henceforth 
she should bear the title of Duchess of Ahlden. 
Her suite consisted of a governor, a gentleman in 
waiting, with sometimes two, and occasionally 
three, ladies in attendance. These were all spies, 
creatures of the Countess Platen, who watched 
the prisoner narrowly, and made known every ob- 
servation and action they thought of su£Bicient im- 
portance to require a report to their employer. 
Her confinement was not exactly solitary, for she 
was permitted occasionally to invite the pivil and 
militai7 authorities of the fortress, as well as the 
clergyman, and persons from the neighbourhood 

T 2 


were sometimes allowed to pay her a visit; but 
this society must of course have been very con- 
strained, and under strict surveillance. She was 
closely guarded, and such restraint put upon her 
actions as satisfied her that, though she had com- 
mitted no offence, she was to be considered as a 
state prisoner. 

Her domestics consisted of two pages, two 
valets, three co()ks, one confectioner, one butler, 
one baker, a head groom, with several subordi- 
nates, a coachman, many footmen, at one time 
fourteen, besides a proportionate number of female 
servants. The grand marshal of the court at 
Ahlden, for the first three years, was Julius Au- 
gustus von Bothmar ; he was succeeded by Count 
Sigismund Bergest till the year 1721, when he 
found a successor in George von Bussche. Indi- 
viduals filling civil situations in the fortress usually 
acted as gentlemen in waiting. Of the different 
ladies in waiting on the Princess we have only 
been able to preserve the names of the two last, 
which were Lady von Arenswald and Lady von 
Malortie, All were obliged to take an oath on 
entering upon their duties, in accordance with the 
compact of the 20th and 31st of August, 1(594, 


" that nothing should be wanting to prevent anti- 
cipated intrigues and misfortunes, and for the per- 
fect security of the place fixed as a residence for 
the Princess Sophia Dorothea, in order to main- 
tain tranquillity, and to prevent any opportunity 
occurring to an enemy for undertaking or imagin- 
ing anytliing which might cause a division in the 
illustrious family." In plain English, to watch 
the prisoner so closely that there could be no pos- 
sibility of communication with fi'iends from with- 

The commanding officer of the castle had par- 
ticular instructions on this point ; and when the 
escape of Mademoiselle Knesebeck became known, 
he maintained more than ordinary vigilance to see 
them fulfilled. The garrison consisted of infantry 
and cavalry, and there was a daily parade in the 
courtyard of the castle. Sentries were posted in 
every direction, and they manifested as much 
jealousy of the movements of this helpless woman, 
as if she had been the most distinguished general 
of the enemy. When she took an airing, it was 
always in a carriage, or in a cabriolet. The latter 
she drove herself, the coachman riding at the side 
of the vehicle. She was always accompanied hj 


a cavalry guard with drawn swordd, under a mili- 
tary officer, as well as by a civil officer, and her 

Promenading on foot or walking on the ram- 
parts of the castle, was not permitted, and senti- 
nels were placed on the ramparts, and in the pas- 
sages, to prevent her going on forbidden ground. 
Slie was not allowed to leave the castle, under 
any pretext, without her customary guard, and so 
strictly was this order persisted in. that on one 
occasion, when a fire broke out in one of the 
chimneys, she was seen pacing to and fro in one 
of the passages, in a state of terrible anxiety, with 
her jewel-case under her arm. 

The Duchess of Ahlden, as she was now styled, 
endeavoured to occupy her mind with every kind 
of employment that presented itself. Among these 
were the administration of the estates that pro- 
duced her income, her correspopdence, her diary, to 
which we shall presently allude more at length, 
and the direction of her household. The instructions 
for her head cook and butler, her daily bills of fare 
for her meals, were all written by herself; and she 
concluded all contracts. But a great part of her 
time was passed in a course of active benevolence. 


and ill the most zealous attention to her religious 
duties. She proved herself a blessing to the 
wliole neigh])ourhood, — improved their dwellings, 
interested herself in the instruction of the cliil- 
dren of the poor labourers, and sought to ame- 
liorate their condition by every means in her power, 

The chaplain performed the religious service 
every sabbath in the apartments of the Princess ; 
his congregation consisting of the household oc- 
cup}ing with himself one room, and the Princess, 
with her ladies, remaining in the next, which 
communicated by folding doors. She was not al- 
lowed to visit the rural church, notwithstanding 
she enriched it with an organ, silver candlesticks, 
altar-cloth, and pulpit-cushion. She was a still 
greater benefactor to the village ; for when a fire 
nearly consumed it, she gave a large sum for the 
purpose of having it more commodiously built. 
Under her auspices, the streets were formed with 
more regularity, the houses placed at proper dis- ' 
tances from each other, and each buildmg was 
neatly roofed with tiles. 

Never did prisoner lead a more iLseful and ho- 
nourable life under captivity. She completely 
triumphed over her slanderers by showing how 


aclmirable could be her conduct under the abuse 
of power which deprived her of her Iil>erty; and 
though her position appeared to shut her out from 
all tlio ordinary resources of happiness, even of 
resources so rich in felicitv as exist in the society 
of parent*^ children, and friends, — she was still pos- 
sessed of one great consolation, which went as for 
as anything could to supply so considerable a void, 
and this was, she was allowed the high and en- 
viable privilege of creating the happiness of 
others. And nobly was it exercised. The poor, 
and those who had none to help them, found 
prompt and liberal asistance ; the sick were re- 
lieved, the troubled comforted, and the worth of 
the meritorious acknowledged and rewarded. In 
her case never wsa anything more true than that 
'' out of evil Cometh good f for out of the mon- 
strous injustice of confining an innocent woman 
for life, the natural influence of a generous and 
noble lieaKt in an impoverished neighbourhood 
performed marvels of forethought, benevolence, 
and s}Tnpathy. Well was it for the poor farm 
labourers of Ahlden that this amiable woman 
was so basely repudiated by her worthless hus- 


If she was denied the solace of seemg her oldest 
and dearest friends, she was permitted to corres- 
pond with some of them. Of course unrestrained 
intercourse in this way was out of the question. 
Nothing was allowed to pass from her prison that 
reflected on the power that held her there. N-e- 
vertheless, ^\Titing became a luxury which she 
enjoyed with far more delight than ordinary 
luxuries produce. Her principal correspondent 
was her mother, whose affectionate consideration 
and matenial counsel brought a balm to her aching 
heart, and a comfort to her troubled mind, that 
often afforded her sufficient philosophy to bear her 
wrongs in patience. The Princess, however, was 
not allowed the pleasure of corresponding with her 
beloved children, those dear ones with whom she 
had parted with so much regret, and of whom she 
could never think in her tar off prison without 
tears filling her. eyes at the intolerable hardship of 
being separated from them. Mademoiselle Knese- 
beck says they were neither allowed to hear of her, 
nor to speak of her. In course of time the un- 
happy lady had many coiTespondents, and found 
ample occupation for the services of her secretary, 
M. von Wiedeler. 


Amongst the persons to whom she wrote was 
her uncle the Elector, who, notwithstanding the 
evil influences to which he had lent himself, en- 
tertained the impression that his daughter-in-law 
had been hardlv dealt with. The last vears of his 
life appear to have been much troubled on this 
account, and it is stated by some authorities that 
he began to show a distaste for the society of the 
reckless woman by whom he had so long been 
governed. But if he ever repented of liis ill-spent 
life, he could not readily divest himself of those 
feelings of hostility to the Duke of Wolfenbiittel 
he had cherished ever since he had been made 
aware of Duke Anthony Ulrich's pretensions to a 
portion of those possessions he was so feverishly 
desirous of retaining in his own family. The 
coalition supposed to exist between Prince Max- 
imilian and the Duke of Wolfenbiittel still more 
strongly excited his animosity, and he would not 
rest till, through the arguments of that ever-ready 
traitor, Bemstorf, he had stirred up his brother, 
the Duke of Zelle, to invade his kinsman's terri- 
tory with a considerable armed force. But there 
its stay was very brief. The cousins came to 
an understanding; the troops were withdrawn, 


and an arrangement made respecting tlie matter 
in dispute which appeared to satisfy all parties. 
Tlie Electress Sophia did not, as far as can bo 
learned, interest herself in the slightest degree for 
her ill-used daughter-in-law. 

On the 28th of January, 1698, the Elector 
died. He was a striking example of the class to 
which he belonged, — a minor potentate influenced 
bya grasping ambition that sometimes rendered him 
deaf and blind as much to ordinary princii)le as to 
common humanity. He, following the fashion 
much in vogue with many of his contemporaries, 
employed all his resources to keep up in his court 
the appearance of power and magnificence, or 
rather of luxury and licentiousness, which Louis 
XIV. had rendered so popular among his royal 
bretliren, and to which Augustus, Elector of 
Saxony and King of Poland, had added a thousand 
profligate follies. He expended considerable 
sums among those who administered to his plea- 
sure, — ^women of loose character, as is usual with 
such monarchs, bemg the greatest recipients, — 
and was equally liberal with the agents who as- 
sisted in working out his selfish policy, with 
the different courts with whom he sought al- 


liance. That he possessed some respectable cha- 
nicteristics we are not disposed to deny, but the 
manner in wlucli he lent himself to the views of 
tliat harpy, the Countess Platen, to wTeak her re- 
venge on his mnocent daughter-in-law, and on 
Count Konigsmark, damn his reputation to all 
He was succeded in the electorate by his eldest 
son, the worthless husband of the poor captive at 
Ahlden ; and from the day of his accession to 
power, her case became utterly hopeless. He was 
even more than his father liad been under the 
thraldom of his mistresses, who, for their own 
sakes, took care that the wound the Princess had 
given to his self-love, by refusing to return to him 
after he had, as it was represented, condescended 
to seek a reconciliation, should never be healed. 
He <Ietermined that her imprisonment should be 
for life ; and so doggedly did he continue .in his 
animosity against her, that he could never be in- 
duced to relax the jealous watch over her conduct 
which he liad caused to be established* 

An agreement was entered into between him- 
self and the Duke of Zelle, in which the latter 
bound himself to respect the conditions of the 


treaty of 1694 regarding the disposal of the Prin- 
cess, at the same time a treaty was entered into by 
the same parties respecting the do\vTy of the 
Duchess of Zelle, which was raised from eight 
thousand to twelve thousand thalers per annum, 
secured on the domains Schamebeck and Lune, 
with the castle of LUneburg as her residence. 

The feelings of nature in the Duke were, how- 
ever, not quite stifled ; for after the demise of his 
brother he made some inquiries about his daugh- 
ter, and seemed willing to interest himself for her. 
This demonstration alarmed Bernstorf, who was 
more anxious than ever to show his servility to 
the Hanoverian court, entertaining an idea that 
he might succeed to the post of Count Platen, or 
be othenvise handsomely provided for. He re- 
minded the Duke of his engagements, and drew 
such a fearful picture of what might happen to 
his Duchess and her daughter after his death, 
should he offend the Elector by any interference 
in the matter, that the Duke shrunk from his in- 
tentions in alarm. Nevertheless upon several oc- 
casions he could not withhold himself from be- 
traying manifestations in favour of the unhappy 


- *"■■ ' '■* 

prisoner which occasioned great uneasiness to his 
traitorous minister. 

After the Princess luul been contined ten years, 
her father expressed a desire to see her; but 
Bcnistorf threw so many obstacles in the way of 
such an interview, that it was postponeil from time 
to time. That his feelings had undergone a conside- 
i-able change was manifest from a codicil to his will, 
wliicli he executed on the 2Gth of January, 1705. 
Therein it is stipulated that, as far as concerns 
the separated consort of the Elector George 
Lewis, things are to remain as expressed in the 
marriage settlement of 1682, in the articles 7, 8, 
16, and 17; that regarding the lordship of Wil- 
heimsburg and all other allodial estates, the ar- 
rangements made are to be respected, as far as 
they have not been altered by the agreement of 
August, 1694. After the Duke's demise the 
Wilhelmsburg is to belong to his daughters son, 
or son's son, in acconlance with the rights of pri- 
mogeniture. Should, however, such progeny not 
exist, these estates are to be inherited by the Elector 
George Lewis, or his successor in the government, 
by laying the stipulated sums. Several legacies 



arc then mentioned, and finally all the rest of liis 
l>roi)crty he bequeathes to his natunxl heirs, par- 
ticularly mentioning his daughter, who is to be 
satisfied with this bequest and, with what had 
been done for her l)y the settlements of 1694 and 

On the same day the Duchess of Zelle provided 
for her daughter, in case of her own demise oc- 
curring previously to that of the Princess, by ex- 
ecuting a testamentary document in the French 
lang-uage to the following effect. Besides various 
legacies and gifts to her servants, this will stipu- 
lates that the Duchess of Ahlden shall possess the 
free use and interest of a capital of sixty thousand 
thalers deposited in the banks at the Hague and 
at Amsterdam, in fifty-two obligations, to dispose 
of in any way she may think proper. Also the 
estate of Olbreuse, in Poitou, in the kingdom of 
France, together with the mansion Wienhausen, 
with all the valuable jewellery, fiimiture, and 
plate in the apartments of the Duchess at Zelle. 
Another bequest is the interest of three thoasand 
thalers annually, from the domain of Hitzacker, 
during her life, subsequently to be inherited by 
the children of the Princess in equal shares, and if 


the Prince should (Iie» the whole to come to his 
sister. The will also stated that the Duchess of 
Ahlden was to resen-e during her life-time one 
half of the income set apart for her use by her 
separated consort, to go to her daughter, who was 
to inherit the whole at her death. 

The Duke of Zelle confirmed this will, and it 
was signed by five witnesses. His desire to be- 
hold the poor captive became stronger every 
year, and after his Duchess liad succeeded, by 
urgent remonstrances and entreaties, in obtaining 
permission to enter the castle of Ahlden, and had 
represented to her husband his daughters me- 
lancholy condition, cut off, as it seemed, from all 
human sympathies, his heart relented, and he 
strove as much as he could to repair the injustice 
he had sanctioned. 

He was now approaching his seventieth year, 
and finding in the spring that his strength vrss 
fast failing him, he expressed his determination to 
visit the unhappy prisoner in the summer. Bem- 
storf, as usual, threw every kind of difficulty in 
the way, and made all soi-ts of representations, 
which unfortunately shook the Duke's resolution 
so far that he deferred his visit till the commence- 


ment of the sporting season. The antumn liad 
just set in, and the Duke went out one day to 
shoot partridges ; he caught a severe cold, which 
made him take to his bed. From this he never 
rose, for he died on the 28th of August, 1 705. 

The wily Bemstorf, at the death of liis master, 
whose confidence he had so grossly abused, pro- 
ceeded to Hanover, and entered into the service 
of the Elector, who gratified his vanity, while he 
rewarded his treason, by raising him to the dignity 
of Count. He soon became all that he had in- 
trigued to be, — the Elector s confidential minister. 

The situation of the mother and daughter, thus 
left without a protector from the resentment of 
the now all-powerful Elector, presented few fea- 
tures of consolation. He succeeded to his uncle's 
territories, which became united with his own; 
and with the power to injure both his fair re^ 
latives more than he had already done, it 
had been sufiSciently made manifest *that he did 
not want the inclination. Fortunately for them, 
he had pressing business on his hands connected 
with the prosecution of his schemes for succeed- 
ing to the English throne on the death of Queen 
Anne, which, together with the cares of his united 

VOL. I. u 


government of Hanover and Zelle^ kept him con- 
stantly occupied. He merely gave directions for 
the effectual security of his victim, and turned a 
deaf ear to her prayers for liberation from a con- 
finement tliat liad long become irksome to her. 
Her innocent occupations had gro^vn monotonous. 
The restrictions and the state of espionage under 
which she existed, at last appeared intolerable. 
She, it is true, now enjoyed the gratification of 
seeing her mother, who made her aware, as fiir as 
she could ascertain, of everj'thing of im|)ortance 
that was going on in the world that had been 
closed against her, and afforded her all a mother^s 
consolation and affection; but her warm heart 
yearned after her children, and every year this 
yearning became more intense and insupportable. 
It is gratifying to know that notwitlistanding 
all the ertbrts made to keep the young Prince and 
Princess indifferent to their mothers fate, and 
igntirant of her existence, in the hearts of both 
there remained a deei>er interest for her than 
her enemies hnagined. In her son this showed 
itself in a manner that astonished the whole court. 
On one occasion the Prince was hunting in the 
neighbourhood of Linsburg, when he was suddenly 


missed. The watchful attendants, knowing that 
Ahlden was at no great distance, sunnised that he 
had stolen away for the purpose of endeavouring 
to see his mother. To allow such an interview 
they knew was more than their places were worth, 
and they proceeded in that direction with all the 
speed they could use. To their very great satis- 
faction thev overtook him at the Ahlden Knick, a 
wood a])out two miles distant from the town, and 
by their urgent solicitations, and moving represen- 
tations of his father's anger, induced him to turn 
back. He acknowledged that his object was to 
see his mother, and gave up his intention with 
evident reluctance. 

The failure of his attempt sunk deep into his 
mind. He was too closely watched to be able to 
repeat the experiment, Imt he was known to brood 
uneasily over the strange circumstance of his mo- 
ther being kept so close a prisoner. For his father 
tliere is reason for believing that at this early 
period he entertained neither respect nor affection. 
In disposition there were many points of resem- 
blance . between them ; the Prince possessed 
much the same dogged obstinacy and deficiency 
of principle so obvious in his parent, but he 

u 2 


had more capacity, and, though far from being 
unexceptionable in his conduct showed a greater 
respect to the obligations of decency and religion. 

The Crown Prince was married, in the year 
1705, to Can)liiia Wilhelmina, daughter of John 
Frederick, Margrave of Anspach, The lady was 
bom in the same year with hhnself: unfortu- 
nately her father died in her childhood, and 
her mother took a second husband. She then 
was brought up under the guardianship of 
Frederick I., king of Prussia; but the care of 
her education was entrusted to his second wife, 
Sophia Charlotte, who appears to have been the 
cleverest member of her family. Caroline re- 
ceived what was considered a learned education, 
and became in after years a woman celebrated for 
the strength of her understanding and the supe- 
riority of her attainments. Nevertheless, she 
never held any considerable influence over the 
affections of her husband, whose gallantries were 
as notorious as his want of delicacy. 

His sister, the Princess, who bore the same 
name as her unhappy mother, appears also to have 
felt a lively sympathy in her misfortunes. The 
Elector, who was as desirous as his fitther had 
been of gaining powerful connexions, succeeded 


in marrying his daughter to Frederick William, 
Crown Prince of Pnissia. By the marriage con- 
ti-act it was stipulated that the agreements en- 
tered into between Hanover and Zelle should be 
respected, with a reservation of the rights of in- 
heritance through the Ducliess of Ahlden. The 
Princess received forty thousand thalers as her 
wedding portion, on renouncing all claim of in- 
heritance to the government of Zelle during the 
existence of male heii-s. This sum, however, was 
irrespective of what she might inherit from her 
mother and grandmother. 

After the marriage of her daughter, the un- 
happy state prisoner at Ahlden contrived to com- 
municate with her; and as the Princess, when 
she departed to Berlin, took into her service the 
devoted friend of her mother. Mademoiselle Knese- 
beck, there can be no doubt that she was fully im- 
pressed with the wrongs her unfortunate parent 
had been made to endure. The Duchess of 
Ahlden wrote, imploring her daughter to use her 
interest to effect her liberation. We do not 
think the Prussian court took any steps in conse- 
quence of this commimication. As the Grown 
Prince was a thick-headed, insensible brute. 


worthy of the selection of the Elector of Hanover, 
and a domestic despot of tlie worst description, it 
is not very likely that he troubled himself about 
his mother-in-law. His consort soon found that 
she was powerless to serve her mother in the way 
she most desired, and was obliged to carry on her 
comumuications \iith her in secresy. In a short 
time other cares pressed upon her that rendered 
her correspondence still more difficult. On the 
24th of Januar}% 1712, she gave birth to a son, 
and in little more than a year later, by the de- 
cease of her father-in-law, her husband and herself 
ascended the throne of Prussia. 

This alliance afforded extraordinary satisfaction 
to the Elector, who, having brought his negociar 
tions to a successful issue, could now turn his en- 
tire attention to his intrigues with the most pow- 
erful members of the party in England supporting 
a Protestant succession. Fortunately for liim, he 
had been educated in the Protestant faith, though, 
as fioLr as religion was concerned, his horse would 
have made as good a Protestant as himself. But 
in the dread of the English people for the re-es- 
tablishment of popery, they were willing to over- 
look not less than fftyscccn branches of the royal 
. 8 


family, whose claims were superior to his own. 
Another fortunate circumstance for him was the 
support his pretensions obtained from the friendly 
William III., who paved the way for him as far 
as he was able, and when the throne to wliich the 
Elector aspired became his own, as the first step 
to such greatness, that King created him, on the 
18th of June, 1701, a Knight of the Garter. 

The lady to whom he had been an unsuccessful 
suitor, when she succeeded William III. in the sove- 
reignty, seemed equally favourable to his ambitious 
views ; for on the 9th of November, 1706, Queen 
Anne created him Baron of Tewkesbury, Viscountof 
Northallerton, Earl of Milford Haven, and Marquis 
and Duke of Cambridge, with precedency of all the 
peers of Great Britain — thus at once presenting 
him with every title of nobility in the gift of the 
crown. The houses of parliament were not less 
liberal ; they passed enactments settling the suc- 
cession in favour -of his mother, which, on her de- 
mise, was to descend to himself. He had a pow- 
erftil party in the country who strenuously up- 
held his claims; and with all loyal Protestants 
throughout the kingdom no theme was so popular 
as the blessings that were to be showered upon 


the land as soon as it should come under the go- 
vernment of the Elector of Hanover. 

The party for the Pretender, however, were 
ver)' active, and spoke with such confidence of 
the countenance they received from Queen Anne, 
that the Elector became alarmed, and urged the 
Queen to allow himself or his son to reside in 
England, as the only eftectmd disclaimer of these 
rumours. His friends spoke of summoning Prince 
George to take his plare in parliament as Duke of 
Cambridge. The journey of the Crown Prince 
was much talked of, and his visit was expected by 
his father s supporters in England ; but the Queen 
was strongly opposed to such a proceeding,* and 
wrote her opinion of it in the following terms : — 

* She had very good reason to be so, as may be seen in the 
following cotemporary report : " For the Whigs dispatcht a 
great many of their emissaries to ride about and engage their 
friends in all the neighbouring counties, and such places of the 
country as he was to pass through, to be in readiness to show 
their respect to the first Prince of the royal blood, when he 
arrived in Britain, by meeting and attending him to London ; 
and they secured a great many reduced officers, who were to 
to be well accouterd in horses and arms, and offer themselTet 
as a guard to his person ; by which precautions, and the oon* 
junction of their frieuds in London, they proposed that the 


" As the rumour increases that my cousin, the 
Electoral Prince, has resolved to come over to 
settle in my lifetime in my dominions, I do not 
choose to delay a moment to write to you about 
this, and to commimicate to you my sentiments 
on a subject of this importance. I then freely 
own to you, that I cannot imagine that a Prince 
who possesses the knowledge and penetration of 
your Electoral Highness can ever contribute to 
such an attempt, and that I believe you are too 
just to allow that any infringement shall be made 
on my sovereignty which you would not choose 
should be made on your own. I am firmly per- 
suaded that you would not suffer the smallest di- 
minution in your authority, /am no less delicate 
in thut respect ; and I am determined to oppose 
a project so contrary to my royal authority, how- 
ever fatal the consequences may be. 

" Your Electoral Highness is too just to refuse 
to bear me witness, that I give, on all occasidns, 
proofs of my desire that your family should suc- 

Priuce should pay his respects to the Queen at St. James's, 
attended with no less than forty or fifty thousand arm*d men, 
the consequences whereof it is very easy to imagine. — The 
Lockhart Papers^ vol. i. p. 464. 


ceed to my cro\nis» which I always recommend to 

my people as the most solid support of their re* 
ligion and their laws. I employ all my attention, 
that notliing should eiface those impressions from 
the hearts of my subjects ; but it is not possible 
to derogate from the dignity and prerogatives of 
the Prince who wears the crown, without making 
a dangerous breach on the riglits of the succes- 
sors : therefore I doubt not but, vrith your usual 
wisdom, you will prevent the taking such a step, 
and that you will give me an opportunity of re- 
newing to you assurances of the most sincere 
friendsliip, with which I am, fee." 

The tone of this communication could not be 
mistaken. Afiairs, too, in England by no means 
wore a favourable aspect. The Pretender, as he 
was called, had there numerous powerful friends 
both willing and able to do him good service, and 
at the head of these there were many reasons for 
suspecting the reigning sovereign. Queen Anne, 
.either had placed, or was about to place, herself. 
Notwithstanding the expressions in the letter we 
have quoted, and the dignities she had con- 
ferred, she had never liked her Hanoverian 
kinsman as a suitor, she liked him less as a sue- 


cesser, and was heard to speak of him with very 
little respect. It was exceedingly humiliating to 
the Elector, but to his aged mother it came with 
a terrible force. The heart and soul of the old 
lady were fixed upon one idea, which was her suc- 
cession to the English throne. The excitement 
this occasioned entirely removed that apathy with 
which she had regarded her husband's mistresses, 
and she brooded over the letter of the Queen of 
England as though it were the death-blow to her 
aspii-ations. Molyneux, an agent of the Duke of 
Marlborough, was at this period at Hanover, and 
was proceeding to the country palace of the 
Elector, when he was startled by the intelligence 
that the venerable Electress was dying in one of 
the garden walks. What he observed is best 
narrated in his own words. 

" I ran up there, and found her just expiring in 
the arms of the poor Electoral Princess,* and 
amidst the^ tears of a great many of her servants,* 
who endeavoured in vain to help her, I can give 
you no accoimt of her iUness, but that I believe 
the chagrin of those villainous letters I sent you 
last post has been in a great measure the cause of 

* Princess Caroline, subsequently Queen of George II. 


it The Rheingravine, vrho has been with her 
these fifteen years, has told me she never knew 
anytliing make so deep an impression on her as 
the affair of the Prince's journey, which I am sure 
she had to the last de;^ee at heart, and she has 
done me the honour to tell me so twenty times. 
In the midst of this concern those letters arrived* 
and those I verily I)eliove have broke lier heart, 
and brouirht her with sorrow to the urave. The 
letters were delivered on Wednesday at noon. 

" That when I came to court she was at cards, 
but was so fnll of these letters, that she got up 
and ordered me to follow her into the garden, 
where she gave them to me to read, and walked 
and spoke a great deal in relation to them. I be- 
lieve she walked three hours that night The 
next morning, which waa Thursday, I heard she 
wjts out of order, and on going immediately to 
court, she ordered me to be called into her bed- 
chamber. She gave me the letters I sent you to 
copy ; she bid me send them next post, and bring 
them afterwards to her to court. This was on 
Friday. In the morning, on Friday, they told me 
she was very well, but seemed very chagrined. 
She was dressed, and dined with the Elector as 


usual. About four she did me the honour to send 
me to town for some other copies of the same 
letters, and then she was still perfectly well. She 
worked and talked very heartily in the orangery. 
After that, about six, she went out to walk in the 
garden, and was still very well. A shower of rain 
came, and as she was walking pretty fiist to get to 
shelter, they told her she walked a little too fast. 
She answered, ' I believe I do,' and dropped down 
on saying these words, which were her last. They 
raised her up, chafed her with spirits, tried to 
bleed her ; but it was all in vain, and when I came 
up she was as dead as if she had been four days 

* Letter of Mr. Moljneux to the Duke of Marlborough. 


Death of Queen Anne — The husband of Sophia Dorothea suc- 
ceeds to the EngUsh throne — Tlie claims of his mistresses 
to share his good fortune — He embarks with them for Eng- 
land — Miserable end of the Countess Platen — Her daughter 
accompanies the new King as his mistress — Mademoiselle 
Schulenburg — George the First's German favourites of both 
sexes — Their rapacity — Distinctions and wealth showered 
upon them — The King's ugly harem— The Countess of 
Darlington described by Horace Walpole and Lady Mary 
Wortley Montagu— The Duchess of Kendal — Disgust of the 
people of England at the appearance of these women at 
Court — Mob wit. 




The Dowager Electress Sophia died in her 
eightv-fourth year, on the 8th of June, 1714, in 
possession, almost to the last, of her good looks 
and her serenity of temper, which neither wrong 
nor insult could disturb. She was so intensely 
anxious to succeed to the English throne that she 
often said she should die happy could she only 
live to entitle her to have placed on her coflSn, 
" Here lies Sophia, Queen of England" This 
wish might liave been gratified had her life been pro- 
longed, fifty-three days; for the .demise of Queen 
Anne took place on the Ist of the following 
August. But such was the state of travelling at 
this period, that the earliest messenger of the 
tidings, Mr. Secretary Craggs — ^though he made 
all the expedition in his power — ^was not able to 
present himself at the palace till the 27th of the 

VOL. I. X 


same montli. The Elector liad been proclaimed 
King of England in London, York, and other 
cities, without any opposition,* notwithstanding 
that a numerous phalanx were to be found in the 
country who sym])athized in the misfortunes of 
the exiled Stuarts, and would liave gladly pn>- 
moted their recal. 

King George, as we must now call him, did not 
take mucli time in making preparations for de- 
parting from his old sovereignty to enter upon 
his new one. With what thoughts he regarded 
his i)ersecuted consort at the moment of his 
quitting the country in which she was a prisoner, 
we cannot state. Probably she scarcely entered 

* This ceremony, as it occurred at York, is thus described : 
'' I went this dav to see the King proclaimed, which was 
done, the Archbishop walking next the Lord Mayor, and all 
the country gentlemen following, with greater crowds of 
people than I believed to be in York : vast acclamations, and 
the appearance of a general satis£M;tion : the Pretender after- 
wards dragged about the streets and burned, ringing of bells^ 
bonfires and illuminations, the mob crying ' Liberty and 
property !* and ' Long live King George !' ... All the 
Protestants here seem unanimous for the Hanover saoees* 
sion." — Letter of Lady Mary JFartley Montagu to her Hub- 



into his consideration beyond his giving some hasty 
commands for continuing her imprisonment more 
closely than ever ; for, supposing she should escape 
and present herself in England, the story of her 
sutFerings and her ^vrongs, he seemed to think, 
might produce effects on the people that could not 
but embarrass him in liis government. He liad 
reason to entertain some doubts of the legality of 
the divorce he had obtained ; and were tliis arbi- 
trary measure disputed in England she might, he 
Weil knew, iasist on being allowed her position 
as queen, wliich would greatly incommode him, 
and be exceedingly distasteful to the tribe of 
mistresses he expected to accompany him to his 
new kingdom. Of creatures such as these there 
were many claimants who desired a conspicuous 
position in his suite. In the first place there 
was the daughter of the Countess Platen. The 
Crown Prince of Hanover, when he succeeded 
to his father's government, testified a proper re- 
spect for the parental authority by keeping on 
the establishment the most favoured of his fa- 
ther's ministers and mistresses. It is true, at 
the period of his accession to the English throne 
the Countess was no longer in office; her con- 

X 2 


science had begun to trouble her, and she felt nn^ 
easy in her mind with respect to the numerous 
ottences against truth and honesty she had com- 
mitted. Foremost in her crimes was her infa- 
mous conduct towards the innocent Princess 
Sophia Dorothea; and in the last years of her life, 
when her health had become undermined by a long 
course of profligacy, and the once beautiful fii- 
vourite was a loathsome object to herself and to 
all who approached her, the evil she had com- 
mitted rose in damning array against her soul, and 
made her life as miserable as it had been vicious. 
At last she sent for a clergyman, and eased her 
overburthened mind by making a full confession 
of her iniquities ; among other crimes dwelling on 
her murder of Count Kbnigsmark, and exonerating 
the Princess from all blame in her intimacy with 
him. This confession was wrung from a guilty 
conscience in the agonies of a death-bed. She 
died in the year 1706. 

The Countess left one son and one daughter. 
Of the former we know very little. Of the latter, 
Sophia Charlotte, however, we are differently 
circumstanced. The Countess early brought her 
forward in that hotbed of vice in which she her- 


self had flourished, and not without carefully im- 
pressing on her mind the necessity of her advan- 
cing her fortunes by the same means by which she 
had obtained both wealth and distinction. We 
have already alluded to her proffering the young 
lady to her own lover, by no means an extraordi- 
nary thing for the woman who had recommended 
her sister to fill the same infamous office with the 
son she occupied with the father ; but her next 
display of indifference to the most ordinary feel- 
ings of decency was strange indeed, as strange as 
it was revolting. She had introduced her sister 
to the Crown Prince, she had done the same kind 
office for her friend Mademoiselle Schulenburg, 
and when the charms of both were fading, she 
showed one more act of devotion to the son of 
her liberal patron, by presenting the sated profli- 
gate with her ovm daughter. 

These infamous transactions are almost incre- 
dible—nevertheless they are perfectly true. The 
Countess Platen's daughter became a favourite 
mistress of the Elector. She had dissipated the 
large fortune she had inherited from her mother 
in every species of extravagance, and after a hasty 
marriage with a M . Kielmansegge, to conceal her 


profligacy, rivalled her mother in infiouny. The 
Elector was getting tired of her excesses when, at 
the time he was about setting off for his English 
dominions, Madame Kielmansegge, who also took 
on herself the title of Countess Platen, put her- 
self forward as so devoted to the person of her 
sovereign, she was ready to accompany him to 
that country, of which others of his mistresses 
stood in such dread, that they hesitated leaving 
their own beloved Hanover, to reside in such a 

The King was pleased %vith her zeal, but there 
appeared to be an important obstacle in the way 
of her testifying it as readily as she wished. She 
had contrived to become overwhelmed with debt, 
and her creditors were far from desirous of losing 
sight of her. King George was not sufficiently 
pleased %vith her to offer to pay her debts, and 
she might have been forced to live in disgrace at 
home, had she not by a clever disguise given her 
creditors the slip, and found her w&y to Holland * 
in time to embark for the English coast with the 
King, in whose favour she so quickly rose, that 
for some time she was the reigning sultana of his 
German seraglio. 


Madame von Weyke, we believe, had retired 
from the Court before the Elector s accession to the 
English throne, but, like her sister, she had left there 
a daughter. This young lady was married to Lieu- 
tenant-General von Wendt. It is a most singular 
feature in courtly profligacy, that these two sisters 
should obtain an infamous notoriety, which each 
should have left to her own descendants, who were 
in every way worthy of succeeding to the family 
dishonours. But in the case of the younger 
sister it was the grand-daughter, instead of the 
daughter, who maintained the hereditary intrigue 
^vith the blood-royal — this third descendant be- 
coming mistress of the son of her grandmother^s 
lover and his repudiated consort — George Augus- 
tus Prince of Wales, subsequently George II. 
She may be better known to the reader by the 
title she subsequently obtained, of Countess of 

The most powerftd of the King's German mis- 
tresses was, however, Mademoiselle Schulenburg— • 
that apparently mild and gentle being who had 
blasted the happiness of the blameless Princess So- 
phia Dorothea so soon after her ill-starred nuptials 
She had had two children by the Elector, both 


daughters; Petronelle Melusina, bom in 1693; 
and Margaret Gertrude, bom in 1703: and in 
consequence had acquired great influence over 
him. Mademoiselle Schulenburg had heard such 
terrible stories of the island that had become the 
chief possession of her royal lover, that she could 
not bring herself to offer to accompany him when 
he was proceeding there to obtain the crown so 
handsomely laid at liis feet ; but when she learned 
that a rival had usurped her place and authority, 
she forgot all her terrors, and transported herself 
as rapidly as possible into the English dominions ; 
where she quickly resumed her influence over its 
weak and profligate sovereign. 

With his female favourites the King brought 
over a tribe of the other sex, who were equally 
devoid of principle. They all rushed to England 
as an El Dorado, in which wealth and honours 
were to be had for the asking, or for the plunder- 
ing. One of these was the traitorous minister of 
the late Duke of Zelle, now flourishing in trium- 
phant crime with the title of Count Bemstorf. 
He was held in countenance by Baron Bothmar, 
Count Robethon, and some others of their coun- 
trymen. The estimable coterie was strengthened 


by the presence of two Turks, named M ustapha 
and Mahomet, who, after having been taken pri- 
soners whilst, as the Crown Prince, the King was 
serving in the imperial army, were induced to 
enter his service, in which they remained till they 
found themselves persons of considerable influence 
with the new monarch of Great Britain. 

Nothing could equal the aspiring ambition of 
these worthies, save their avarice : and George the 
First degraded himself by suffering them to make 
use of his favour for the gratification of both 
qualities. Indeed, he showed a most shameless 
disregard of public opinion, by the manner in 
which he lent himself to the sordid views of this 
unprincipled crew. On his mistresses he lavished 
distinctions which had never before been so ini- 
quitously disposed of. Mademoiselle Schulenburg 
was, in the year 1716, made a member of the 
Irish peerage, by being created Baroness of Dun- 
dalk. Countess and M^chioness of Pungannon, 
and Duchess of Munster. The disgrace thus in- 
flicted upon the nobility of the sister kingdom 
was probably an experiment ; for in the year 1719 
the Irish peeress was raised to the dignity of 
peeress of England, with the further titles of 


Baroness Glastonbury, Countess of Feyersham, 
and Duchess of Kendal. 

As we read this imposing array of titles, we 
may exclaim with Falstafl^ " There's honour for 
you !" Nor can we help comparing the destiny 
of this worthless woman, thus raised to equality 
with the noblest in the land, and allowed to assume 
at Court the position of the consort of the sove- 
i-eign, with that of the virtuous and noble-minded 
Princess, who, though under the greatest provoca- 
tion, and in the midst of glaring licentiousness, 
remaining honourably observant of her duties as 
a wife and a mother, was degraded from the princely 
honours which were her undoubted birth-right, and 
banished at a period when life possesses the keenest 
zest for enjoyment, to an obscure fortress in her 
native land, to linger out her remaining years in 
what was only a little better than solitary impri- 

Madame Kielmansegge was also ennobIed,thougli 
at rather a later date. On the death of her hus- 
band, in the year 1721, she was created Countess 
of Leinster in Ireland ; and on the 10th of April 
of the following year Baroness of Brentford and 
Countess of Darlington. With these honours, it 


is scarcely necessary to add that the members of 
this royal harem obtained ample means for sup- 
porting them. The King could lavish his English 
revenues upon such demireps — at the same time 
he was withholding from his discarded consort the 
common privilege of every human being guiltless 
of crime. Among the females of his seraglio who 
received distinctions, we must not forget his na- 
tural daughter Petronelle Melusina, the first child 
he had had by Mademoiselle Schulenburg. In 
the English court, she passed as the niece of the 
Duchess of Kendal. On the 10th of April, 1722, 
this yoimg lady was created Baroness of Aldbo- 
rough and Countess of Walsingham, and in conse- 
quence of her ostensible relationship to the King*s 
mistress, and her presumed relationship to the 
King, she became a very important person in that 
depraved and degraded assembly called the Court 
of Qreat Britain, in the reigA of the first George. 
These harpies were fer from being content^with 
what the misplaced liberality of their sovereign 
allowed them. They were as corrupt as they 
were avaricious, and took bribes, and levied con- 
tributions for employing their interest in favour 
of applicants, with an industry that looked as if 


thej knew not how long their present good foiv 
tune might last, and tliat thej were determined 
to grasp whatever came into their way whilst it 
might be in their power. They represented them- 
selves as possessing more influence with the King 
than they knew they could exercise, and the whole 
tribe of courtiers, eager to bask in the royal sun- 
shine, took care to conciliate them by costly pre- 
sents and liberal donations. Even the two Turks 
— now raised to the dignity of pages of the back- 
stairs — were allowed to drive a considerable trade, 
by trafficking in places of small emolument 
- There were persons who acted as agents for 
these greedy parasites who disposed of state ap- 
pointments, through their influence over the sove- 
reign, for which they took care to obtain a proper 
consideration. Indeed their avarice appeared to 
be unbounded, and they seized on everything 
valuable with quite as little reference to propriety 
in the appropriation as to honesty. 

The Duke of Somerset thought proper to resign 
his post of Master of the Horse. Scarcely was it 
known, before the Duchess of Kendal worried the 
King into bestowing its emoluments upon her. 
Another of the favourites grasped at the vacant 


office of Master of the Buck Hounds as soon as it 
became vacant, and obtained it. We are not 
aware that these worthies fiilfilled the duties of 
such offices ; but there is no doubt that they ob- 
tained the salaries attached to them, which, after 
all, Avas what they desired. It is, perhaps, fortu- 
nate for the country that posts of greater respon- 
sibility did not, by requiring a possessor, excite the 
cupidity of the King's German mistresses, or else, 
perhaps, the plundered and degraded kingdom 
might have been still further disgraced by having 
the Countess of Darlington for Lord Chancellor, 
the Countess of Walsingham for Admiral of the 
Fleet, and the Duchess of Kendal for Archbishop 
of Canterbury. 

It may be asked what sort of creatures were 
these, for whom George the First had discarded 
the virtuous and intellectual mother of his chil- 
dren? Of their character and dispositions the 
reader is sufficiently onformed. Were they more 
lovely in person, more accomplished in mind," or 
more agreeable in manners, or more entertaining 
in conversation, than the poor captive who was 
wearing out her heart in uncared for lamentations 
over her intolerable imprisonment? There are 


several cotemporary reminiscences of these wop- 
thies, that convey their portraits in a few graphic 

" Lady DarlingtoiC says Horace Walpole, 
" whom I saw at my mother's in my infancy, and 
whom I remember by being terrified by her enor^ 
mous figure, was as corpulent and ample as the 
Duchess of Kendal was long and emaciated. Two 
fierce black eyes, large and rolling beneath two 
lofty arched eyebrows; two acres of cheeks 
spread with crimson ; an ocean of neck tliat over- 
flowed, and wsis not distinguished fi-om the lower 
part of her body; and no part restrained by 
stays — ^no wonder that a cluld dreaded such an 

So unwieldy in bulk was this distinguished 
ornament of the Court of St. James's, that the 
wits of the day — and there were \^its in those 
days — bestowed on her the cognomen of " The 
Elephant and Castle." From another valuable ' 
authority we have a delineation a little less i*^ 
pulsive. " She had a greater vivacity in conver- 
sation," observes Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 
" than ever I knew in a German of either sex. 
She loved reading, and had a taste for all polite 



learning. Her humour was easy and sociable. 
Her constitution inclined her to gallantry.* She 
was well-bred and amusing in company. She 
knew both how to please and be pleased, and had 
experience enough to know it was hard to do 
either without money. Her unlimited expenses 
had left her with very little remaining, and she 
made what haste she could to take advantage of 
the opinion the English had of her power with 
the King, by receiving the presents that were 
made her from all quarters ; and which she knew 
very well must cease, when it was known that the 
King's idleness carried him to her lodgings, with- 
out either regard for her advice, or affection for 
her person, which time and very bad paint had left 
without any of the charms that once attracted him/' 
These lineaments are in some degree more 
favourable ; but Lady Mary was likely to be in- 
dulgent in pourtraying such characters, perhaps 
knowing how much her own stood in need of 
similar liberality. Enough, however, is made out 
to prove that the Countess of Darlington was as 
ugly as she was depraved. Yet plain as sh^ was 

* A genteel way of expressing her noted want of chas- 


in features, her rival, the Duchess of Kendal, was 
still more unprepossessing. The once fair anil 
gentle Mademoiselle Schulenburg had become 
a shrivelled anatomy — and the appellation of 
" The May-Pole,** generally applied to her by the 
town wits, was, though too pleasant in its associa- 
tions, from the height and spareness of that em- 
blem of an obsolete sport, considered peculiarly 

The licentiousness of roval courts had usuallv 
in it something of refinement and grace^this was 
peculiarly so in the Court of Louis XIV. The 
King of Poland, profligate as he was, did not 
allow his vices to become glaringly disgusting. 
Even the disreputable doings of our own Charles 
the Second, had some apology for the multitude, 
with whom personal attractions are usually re- 

* Many mistakes have been made by English historians 
when alluding to the mistresses of George the First. ' In a 
' recent publicadoh, it is said, " The old lean xnistress, the 
Duchess of Kendal, stood firm for Walpole, but Carteret had 
secured the younger and thinner mistress, Madame Kilmanaeg, 
now Countess of Darlington, and her sister Madame Platen."— 
Pictorial History o/ England, vol. iv. p. 383. This " thinner 
mistress" was '' the Elephant and Castle," and she had no 


garded as a natural provocation to libertinism, 
liut George the First chose to display the foot of 
tlie satyr with an ostentation that proved his sen- 
suality to be of the most gross and revolting cha- 
racter. This want of decency, coupled with such 
want of taste, made a powerful impression on the 
people of England. 

" We are ruined by trulls," observed an ano- 
nymous writer ; " nay, what is more vexatious, by 
old ugly trulls, such as could not find entertain- 
ment in the most hospitable hundreds of Old 

Ugly as they were, they contrived to make pretty 
pickings, out of everything where a corrupt in- 
fluence was possible. This was particularly mani- 
fest in that immense swindle the South Sea Bill, 
for ftirthering which the Duchess of Kendal re- 
ceived ten thousand pounds, the Countess of Dar- 
lington ten thousand pounds, and each • of the 
Duchess of Kendal's daughters the same sum. 

" No wonder that the mob of London were 
highly diverted at the importation of so uncom- 
mon a seraglio," says Horace Walpole. "They 
were food for all the venom of the Jacobites ; 
and, indeed, nothing could be grosser than the 

VOL. I. Y 


ribaldry that was vomited out in lampoons, libels^ 
and every channel of abuse, against the sovereign 
and the new court. One of the German ladies 
being abused by the mob, was said to have put 
her head out of the coach, and cried in bad Eng* 
lish, " Good people, why you abuse us ? We come 
for all your goods T 

'* Yes, and be d d to you," answered a fellow 

in the crowd ; ** and for all our chattels too.** 


Sophia Dorothea, weary of her imprisonment, amuses herself 
by writing a Diary illustratiye of her own story — Her son 
the Prince of Wales — A sordid passion — Her daughter the 
Queen of Prussia — Account of her domestic misery by the 
Margravine of Bayreuth — The Duchess of 21elle endeavours 
to secure the settlement of her property on Sophia Dorothea 
— Death of the Duchess of Zelle— Efforts of the King of 
Prussia to obtain a knowledge of what property his Queen 
might inlierit from her mother — Legal opinion of Thoma- 
sius — Communications between the Queen of Prussia and 
her mother ~- Memorandum from Sophia Dorothea authoriz- 
ing the Count de Bar to sell her property in the Dutch 
funds — Supposed project of escape — Her pensioners in 
Holland — Another memorandum to the Count de Bar — 
Letter of Sophia Dorothea to the Coimt — Persons employed 
by her to commimicate with her daughter — Report on their 
negociations with the Queen — Protest of Sophia Dorothea 
in favour of Count de Bar — She refuses the Queen's pre- 
sents -r-Interesting letter of Sophia .Dorothea — Her mis- 

. placed confidence in the Count de Bar — Her last letter 4o 
him — ^Treachery of the Count. 

Y 2 




Time passed on vnth leaden wings to the royal 
captive at Alilden. She had long exhausted all 
her resources for wiling away the heavy hours of 
her imprisonment. Her admirable charities for 
the poor, her excellent schemes for the industri- 
ous, her judicious rules for her own household, no 
longer afforded her occupation. She grew listless 
and weary. The hope deferred that maketh the 
heart sick, was making sad ravages in her once 
cheerful disposition, and she found herself obliged 
to be constantly employing h6r mind to keep off 
the despairing thoughts that weighed so heavily 
upon her spirit. Writing had always been her 
favourite occupation, and she had contrived even in 
her imprisonment to carry on a correspondence with 
three or four persons ; and to continue a kind of 
diary of the conversations respecting her and her 
mother, that took place amongst the different mem- 


bers of the courts of Hanover, Zelle, and Wolfen- 
biittel, who were in any way mixed up in the princi- 
pal events of their lives. These conversations must 
have been partly composed from her recollections 
of such as she had herself shared in, and partly 
from such as were related to her by Mademoiselle 
Knesebeck, Count Konigsmark, the Duchess of 
Zelle, and other persons in her confidence. 

The reader, in going through her diary, 
which will be found in the second volume of 
this work, may probably feel surprised that 
it should have been written by the Princess, 
under the circumstances in which she was placed ; 
but when the long period of her imprisonment is 
considered, and the facilities, even during this 
time, of obtaining intelligence which she possessed 
in the frequent visits of her mother, there will 
appear very little that is extraordinaiy in the 
fact of her having, thus circumstanced, compiled 
such a production. Many such works might have 
been written in half the time the Princess was 
detained at Ahlden. The minuteness of the in- 
formation conveyed by the royal captive is not 
less remarkable than the dramatic manner in 
which it is narrated. The characteristic dialogues 
spoken by the various personages with whom 


Sophia Dorothea came in contact convey a sin- 
gular picture of the domestic manners of the 
minor sovereigns of Germany from a hundred to 
a hundred and fifty years ago. 

Tliis diary, with other important papers, were 
secretly transmitted by her, a short time before her 
death, to a friend in whom she could place the 
ftillest confidence. Many of the scenes here de- 
scribed, in which the writer was the principal 
actor, possess all the appearance of trustworthi- 
ness, and read very like verbatim reports of actual 
occurrences from an eye-witness. It is very evi- 
dent that, previously to her incarceration, Sophia 
Dorothea had made inquiries and collected me- 
moranda respecting the proceedings of her father- 
in-law and the Platens both in regard to her mo- 
ther and herself. She was in a position then to 
obtain such information, and she was too deeply 
interested in the subject not to have availed her- 
self of it to the fullest extent. 

A good deal of the time of the Princess must 
have been devoted to the composition of this 
novel species of diary, but as from twenfy to thirty 
years had already been passed by her in imprison- 
ment, there can be no doubt that she possessed 
sufficient leisure for completing it It is true she 


had other occu})ations, but so long a deprivation 
of liberty seemed so excessive a hardship, that 
they could not drive from her mind the sense of 
desolation that every day grew stronger upon her. 
Her commnnications with her mother, her 
daughter, and probably Mademoiselle Knesebeck, 
kept her aware of much that was going on in the 
world from which she had been so carefully shut 
out. But thev broui»:lit iier no consolation. She 
could leani nothing satisfactory of any member of 
her family. Her husband had earned the con- 
tempt of his new subjects, and the disgust of his 
old ones. Her sou was treading in his steps, and 
had begun to display the same deficiency in moral 
and intellectual qualifications for which the Elector 
had rendered himself so conspicuous. 

The Prince of Wales did not prove a better 
husband than his father had been. Besides other 
intrigues, he chose to amuse himself by pretend- 
ing an attachment to his consort's maids of honour, 
to whom, on one occasion, it appears he thought, 
like Jupiter, of gaining his Danae in a shower of 
gold ; but he played the god in an exceedingly 
clumsy style. The beautiful Mary BeUenden was 
thus distinguished by him. ^ Miss Bellenden,** 
says an agreeable gossip of those days, ** by no 


means felt a reciprocal passion. The Prince's 
gallantry was by no means delicate ; and his avar 
rice disgusted her. One evening, sitting by her, 
he took out his purse, and counted his money. 
He repeated the numeration : the giddy Bellenden 
lost her patience, and cried out, ' Sir, I cannot 
bear it : if you count your money any more, I 
will go out of the room.' The chink of the gold 
did not tempt her more than the person of his 
roval hififlmess." 

It is said the experiment was continued till 
the young maid of honour, losing her patience 
and respect at the same time, by a rapid 
movement of her foot, kicked up his guineas 
and sent them scattering in all directions. She 
hastily left the room, while his royal highness as 
hastily sprawled on the floor to recover the re- 
jected bribe. The Prince, it is believed, was more 
successful in other instances, for he had many 
"^ mistresses— themostcelebratedbeingthe Countesses 
of Yarmouth and Suflfolk— of whom we shall have 
to speak presently. Nevertheless, notwithstand** 
ing the extent to which he degraded himself, by 
the manner in which he gave way to this here- 
ditary vice, George Augustus was in many respects 
a better man than his father. 


The Princess heard too of her daughter — rerj 
painful news for so affectionate a mother. The 
young Queen of Prussia possessed scarcely any 
prospect of happiness in the enjoyment of her 
regal grandeur. She had brought her consort two 
children, and when they came of an age to feel 
most acutely the improper manner in which they 
were treated, he l)ehaved to them with a maniacal 

^ The torttu-es of purgatory," says his daughter, 
the Margravine of Bayreuth, " could not come up 
to what we endured. We were forced to be in 
his apartments by nine in the morning : we had 
our dinner there ; and dared not leave it on any 
account. Nothing was to be heard all day but 
invectives against my brother and myself. The 
King never gave me any other name than la 
canaille Anglaise, and my brother le coquin de 
Fritz. He made us eat and drink things that we 
disliked, or which disagreed with us; so that 
sometimes we could not help vomiting before him 
all that we had in our stomachs." 

In another place, the same writer states, ^ He 
first flung a plate at the head of my brother, who 
avoided the blow ; then cast another at me, which 
I dodged in like manner. A torrent of abuse 


followed these first hostilities." He subsequently 
made an attempt to knock his daughter's brains 
out with his crutch as she strove to pass his chair. 
A more disgusting trait is yet to be traced. " My 
brother and me were nearly starved by the King. 
He fulfilled the office of carver, and helped every 
body, excepting us two ; and when it chanced that 
anything remained in one of the dishes, he would 
spit upon it to prevent our eating it^ 

The poor prisoner at Ahlden, when she learned 
these revolting facts, must have entertained a 
doubt whether her fate was worse than that of 
her child. At the least, she must have known 
that her daughter and her grandchildren were in 
the hands of a man — ^if man he could be called — 
who appeared to possess as little feeling as sense. 
Such intelligence must have caused her great un- 
easiness. She took a warm and lively interest in 
her son and daughter, notwithstanding she had 
been parted from them for so many years, and' a 
knowledge of the troubles of the yoimg queen 
must have affected her as deeply as the news she 
had heard of the discreditable conduct ,of the 
Prince of Wales. Her grandson had of course 
been an object of considerable interest to her 

332 3IEM0IRS OF 

since his birth. Little could she then have 
thought that the boy thus brutally treated, was to 
elevate himself from so rough a schooling, to be- 
come the most famous potentate in Europe. That 
boy a tew years subsequently filled the world with 
liis tame. He was then known by the name of 
Frederic the Great 

The Duchess of Zelle endeavoured to be as 
frequently witii the Princess as her gaolers would 
allow, and strove earnestly to lighten her impri- 
sonment as much as possible. As from her ad- 
vanced age she knew not howsoon the hand of death 
might put a stop to these visits, she became ex- 
ceedingly anxious that while she possessed the 
power to befriend her daughter, she should do so, 
by securing for her whatever property she had to 
be(|ueath at her decease. It has been shown that 
she had already made the proper testamentary 
disposition in favour of the Princess, but she did not 
think that bequest sufficiently secure, and therefore 
had another document executed on the 21st of 
July 1721, and had it formally delivered to the 
high court of appeal at Zelle, four days subse- 

The purport of it was that the Duke and 


Duchess of Wolfenbiittel were to enjoy a life in- 
terest in forty thousand dialers, but of a loan of 
twenty-eight thousand thalers previously granted 
to the Duke, the Duchess of Ahlden was to re- 
ceive the interest. It appears from the foregoing 
that the Duchess never forgot the seasonable 
friendship of the amiable Duke Anthony Ulrich. 
The remainder of the instrument merely stated 
that the Duchess of Zelle bequeathed to her 
daughter the estate at Olbreuse, and the mansion 
at Wienhausen, with the tumiture, jewels and 
plate, as in her previous testament. 

Mademoiselle Knesebeck distinctly states that 
after the death of the Duke of Zelle, the Duchess 
had to experience, by the hostile influence of her 
daughter s consort, annoyances not easily endured. 
Hers was naturally a cheerftil and happy disposi- 
tion ; but the sight of the Princess's suffering?*, 
and the disappointments she experienced in her 
various efforts to relieve * them, produced a deep 
effect on her mind. She bore up against it as longp 
as she could, but in advanced age the defences 
against shocks of this kind are feeble, and conse- 
quently are quickly levelled. The Duchess grew 
weaker soon after completing the docmuent Me 


have just mentioned, and it became evident that 
she was approaching that bourne ** where the 
wicked cease Irom troubling, and the weary are at 
rest.** Her last journey to the prison where for 
twenty-eight years her only child had been im- 
mured for no fault, unless her worth and virtue 
must be regarded as such, was attended with 
many painfiil reflections, and after a saddening in- 
terview she gave the unhappy Princess her bless- 
ing, and came away tully impressed with the con- 
viction that they should meet again only where 
the power of the tyrant could never reach them. 
On her return to her residence, the Duchess took to 
her bed, and died on the 25th of February, 1722, 
This was the heaviest blow the poor Princess 
had yet received. Her fond mother, her iaithful 
intercessor, her atfectionate adviser, her consoler^ 
comforter, and sole friend on earth, had been 
. snatched away Irom her for ever, and she seemed 
now totally abtodoned by every friend and relap 
tive, to die uncared for in the gloomy fortress that 
must soon be her tomb. Everything appeared to 
press heavily upon a spirit already overburthened. 
Her communications with the Queen of Prussia 
could only be continued through the agency of 


persons who, she found out too late, were the paid 
spies of her relentless tyrant. One individual at 
this time particularly recommended himself to her 
confidence. He was the Count de Bar, a nobleman 
who had previously been distinguished by the con- 
fidence of her father. 

We are willing to believe that the Queen of 
Prussia would, imder happier circumstances, have 
taken a bold stand against the enemies of her 
mother, and used her best exertions to procure 
her that liberty of which for so long a period she 
had been deprived ; but power she had none, and 
in her ovni domestic relations she experienced no 
ordinary suffering. The King of Prussia, though 
he had shown himself so imfeelingly indifferent to 
the wrongs inflicted on the mother of his consort, 
and was perfectly careless as to what became of 
her^ felt very differently as to what became of her 
fortune. He learned that the despised prisoner 
enjoyed property to a considerable amount, which 
his queen, her daughter, was likely to inherit at 
her death. She was in receipt of an income of 
eighteen thousand thalers from different posses- 
sions, besides the interest of large funds left her by 
her parents that amounted to ten thousand thalers 
more. The Prussian monarch had given instructions 


to his resident in London to inquire of the Prince 
of Wales the easiest way for his master to get pos- 
session of this inheritance, as his Alajesty appearetl 
inclined to seize it not only before it came into the 
possession of his consort, but before the Duches8 
of Zeile had given up her portion of it. 

As the agent did not succeed in obtaining any 
satisfactory iufonnation on this interesting point, 
a M. Wallenrodt was dispatched as the King's 
envoy to gain from the Prince the information so 
much desired. The question of the inheritance 
was duly made, and the envoy no doubt, equally 
with his employer, must have been much surprised 
at the reply he was obliged to send ; for it stated 
" that it was first to be decided whether the 
daughter of the Duchess of Ahlden could inherit 
at all, in which case she would possess everything ; 
and that he had receive<l a decisive answer from 
the Prince of Walej*." After the demise of tlie 
Duchess of Zelle, the question seemed to assume 
a deeper interest, an<l the famous la^^7er, Tho- 
masius, then resident at Halle, was desired by the 
King to give a judicial oi)inion respecting this dis- 
puted right of inheritance. 

Mr. Counsellor Thomasius received a large col- 
lection of papers, from which it was expected ho 


would form his opinion, which he was to give in 
reply to the following queries : 

1. What property came to the Duchess of 
Zelle on the death of her husband. 

2. In what manner this should devolve to her 

3. What property the Duchess of Ahlden had 
brought her husband at her marriage with the 
King of England, and the settlements that had 
been made respecting it. 

4. In what way the houses of Zelle and Ha- 
nover had arranged the settlement of property 
after the dissolution of the marriage. 

These were the principal points, from which the 
counsellor was to discover what possessions the 
Queen of Prussia and her heira might lay claim to 
— what had been left by the Duchess of Zelle— 
what might be left by the Duchess of Ahlden 
— the claims of the latter on her husband — 
what the Duchess inherited from her mother, 
and what portion might be claimed by the 
Queen of the property the Duchess of Ahlden 
had brought at her union with the King of 

We can here only state that the result of the 
VOL. I. z 


learned counsellor's deliberations .was so far satis- 
fiictory to the King of Prussia as to entertain him 
with the idea that he might look forward to jkjs- 
sess at least half the property the Duchess of 
Ahlden should die possessed of, as his Queen must 
then share equally with her brother, the Prince 
of Wales. It does not appear that liis Majesty, 
after receiving this opinion, exhibited the slightest 
act of kindness towards the relative from whom 
he had such expectations : indeed, evidence exists 
to prove that he exercised all the influence he 
possessed to prevent any communication between 
his consort and his mother-in-law. 

Nevertheless, they managed to carry on a cor- 
respondence, the Queen trusting to a fiiithful at- 
tendant of her own, called Frederick, and her 
mother placing the same confidence in a jierson 
named Ludeman, who held one of the most re- 
sponsible offices in the household at Alilden. Tlie 
Comit de Bar had become suspected, and the 
Queen would not hear of his being farther em- 
ployed. It is very clear, from the papers that 
have been preserved, that the Queen of Prussia 
was in great alarm during the continuance of this 
correspondence, lest it should be discovered ; and 


this was never more apparent than when the royal 
family of Prussia, in the year 1725, went to Ha- 
nover to meet George I., who was then on a visit 
to his electorate, to which there cannot be a doubt 
he was much more attached than he was to his 

We cannot altogether approve of the conduct 
of the Queen of Prussia towards her unfortunate 
mother. Frederick William was undoubtedly a 
domestic tyrant, every way qualified to become 
the son-in-law of so brutal a despot as George 
Lewis. Although willing to take into considera- 
tion her fear of offending such men as her father 
and her husband, we should have been better 
pleased were anything like evidence to be found 
that she sought to ameliorate the hard lot of her 
unhappy mother. Notwithstanding all considera- 
tions that may be made for her peculiar position, 
it is impossible to dwell on the protracted impri- 
sonment of the Princess Sophia Dorothea, without 
receiving an impression of disappointment that 
her daughter, when approaching the neighbour- 
hood of her jail, should not have made some effort 
to behold the author of her being. 

We have mentioned the name of the Count de 

z 2 


Bar. It is evident that Sophia Dorothea placed 
the most implicit coniidenee in this person. 
We here iasert a memorandum from the Princess's 
papers, authorizing the Count to sell out from the 
Dutch ftmds to a large amount. Whilst this 
paper affords curious evidence of the wTiter being 
a woman of business, it appears very probable that 
she had some object in view in procuring such a 
sum of money, which there can be but little 
doubt was intended to ftimish .the means of es- 
caping out of the country. One cannot help sus- 
pecting that the Count de Bar was privy to 
this. He had gained her favourable opinion, 
perhaps by such attentions as are acknowledged 
in the last paragraph, which affords evidence of a 
custom then very common amongst the ladies of 
the highest rank all over the continent. 


'^ As I consent most willingly that M. le Comte 
de Bar should sell my Dutch bonds at a reason- 
able price, requesting him to acquaint me with the 
current price, to the amount of thirty and odd thou- 
sand crowns, securing to me the rest of the said 
bonds, the Imiliff Ludeman will send them to him. 


Seventeen of them are on the comptoir of the 
Hague, amounting to sixty-one thousand eight 
hundred and forty florins ; and sixteen bonds on 
the comptoir of Amsterdam, making the sum of 
sixty-three thousand three hundred and twenty- 
three florins, seventeen sols ; and I think it ne- 
cessary that the Count de Bar should put i^ith his 
own hand in the three or four intervals of his bond 
the amount which he shall take, and send it by 
II.* to the l)ailiff' Ludeman, who has reported to 
me upon other things which have been entrusted 
to him, concerning which I have had much satis- 
faction, and the happy issue of which will afford 
me still more. I desire the most gracious com- 
pliments possible to be given to the Count de 
Bar, together with my thanks for the snuff ^vith 
which he has presented me, which is very good, 
but the quantity too great. 

" SoPHip Dorothea. 

" Ahlden, September 25th, 1724." 

Sophia Dorothea employed the fimds at her 
disposal in affording relief, and even competence, 

* A person of the name of Heising, employed by the 
Princess in her communications with the Count. 


to a vast number of very worthy persons. The 
recipients of her bounty were not confined to 
Germany, as may be seen in the following note : 

*' List of the pensions which I wish to be paid 
in Holland. 

At Harlem. 

Money of Holland. 
To the whole Society of Harlem . 400 crowns. 
To Mdlle. (le Passac in particular . 40 crowns. 

At the Hague. 
To Mdlle. de Martel , . 300 crowns. 

At Utrecht. 
To Mdlle. de Tors . . 50 crowns. 

At Leuwarden. 
To Mdlle. ia Venfue de Cliauifepied 50 crowns. 
To Mdlle. de Ville Vennie . 50 crowns. 
.Making, in the whole, the sum of eight hundred 
and ninety crowns, or two thousand two hundred 
and twenty-five florins of Holland. 

" Sophie Dorothea. 

'* Ahlden, the 25th September, 1724." 

The following year we meet with a similar 



list. The memorandum that follows strengthens 
the suspicion that more was meant in these sales 
tliau meets the eye. 

** After having maturely considered the circum- 
stances, and the high price of Dutch bonds at pre- 
sent, according to the information which M. le 
Count de Bar has given to the bailiff Ludeman, 
by letter of the 14th instant, those on the camp- 
toir of the Hague being at par, that is to say, one 
hundred for one hundred, and those on the comptoir 
of Amsterdam, one with another, at one hundred 
and nine for one hundred, according as purchasers 
are to be met with, I have determined to sell all 
the bonds I have on the two comptoirs of the 
Hague and of Amsterdam, since this price appears 
to nie so high and so profitable that there is 
no appearance it will rise any higher, but, on 
the contrary, it is to be feared that it may fall 
considerably. I therefore order theJbailiff Lude- 
man to send to Holland, to M. le Comte de Bar, 
the six letters of attorney signed by my hand, 
which he will need for effecting the sale of my 
said bonds. I wish also that the money arising 
from them over and above the thirty thousand 

344 BfEMoms OF 

crowns which I have already disposed of, to be 
placed in safe keeping, till I find opportunity to 
put it out profitably to interest, and, if this could 
be done, with safety, in such a manner that at 
any time, whether in peace or war, I may alwa^'s 
have my money at my disposal without fail. 
While waiting for this opportunity of placing it, 
I am satisfied that it should be put in the bank of 
Amsterdam, for the necessary precaution and as- 

" Sophie Dorothea. 

" Ahlden, October 27th, 1724." 

Should the unhappy prisoner succeed in effect- 
ing her escape from the dominions of the Elector, 
such a sum as that she names would be of essen- 
tial service to her : and the manner in which she 
was selling out of the Dutch funds all she pos- 
sessed there, and placing the amount in the bank 
of Amsterdam, wbere she might readily avail her- 
self of it on her arrival, favours the impression 
that she was planning a secret flight from her 
prison, which the Count de Bar was to assist 

We next produce a communication from the 
Princess to the Count, though ostensibly proceed- 



ing from another party. It contains lier erasures, 
alterations, and remarks in the margin. 

** To M. LE COMTE DE BaR. 

** As your Excellency had 
assured me positively by 
your letter of the ICth of 
July, that you would wait 
at Brunswick for my an- 
swer on the two points pro- 
posed and contained in your 
letters of the 15th and 16th 
instant, I hastened as much 
as possible that I might not 
delay your Excellency too 
long, and as the person you 
know (whom I do not name 
for certain reasons) deli- 
vered to me immediately* 
a paper in her* own hand- 
writing, containing Iier sen- 
timents on the points pro- 
posed with order** to commu- 
nicate it to your Excellency 

* on the following 

^ Commission had 
better be put in- 

la the original the sex of the writer is disguised. 



Stead of order ^ as it 
does not appear to 
come from a supe- 
rior, while that is 
implied by the 

^^ giving mo back my 

by an express whom I was 
to instruct not to deliver 
the letter to any one but 
yourself, and to bring it back 
in case he should not meet 
with your Excellency, since 
it was out of season to trust 
such a letter to the post ; I 
must confess that my sur- 
l)rise was extreme when 
my express returned and^ 
brought me the vexatious 
news that your Excellency 
had left Bruns. for B.* the 
morning of the same day 
on which he arrived towards 
evening. I am exceedingly 
mortified at this ; and there 
must have been certain cir^ 
cumstauces and very strong 
reasons to induce your Ex- 
cellency to change your 
design and to hasten your 
journey so much, without 
* Most probably Berlin. 


apprising me of it by an 
express, for the honour of 
your letter of the 20th did 
not reach till the 24th, 
after the return of my mes- 

** As, however, I consider 
it absolutely necessary that 
your Excellency should be 
informed at least of some 
part of the sentiments of 
the said person, I will tell 
you as briefly as possible 
that this person has been ex- 
tremely surprised because 
objections were made on the 
last point* proposed with 
the person you know, and 
that it was even considered 
as an advantageous af&ir an 
regard to the present state, 
[of things] that you were 
entirely master of all your 

• " The words " to the marriage'' are here stnick out by 
the Princess, and '' the last point'' inserted. 



I thiiikonoonght 
to avoid the word 
marriage^ which 
might alford too 
much liglit if the 
letter were to foil 
into suspicious 
bauds, and to make 
use of the words af- 
fair, point, or arti- 
cle, contained in 
the letter of the 

*" for the remainder 
of life. 

actions, and that you could 
" act *** according to your 
own choice without caring 
about her sentiments, yet 
since you wisheil to be in- 
formed of them, Jie de- 
clared with the utmost sin- 
cerity that the alliance for 
wiiich you appear to have 
but too nmch inclination 
could not be otherwise than 
very odious to Iier;\ &c. 
Without touching upon (Ui 
infinity of other reasons air 
leged^ sJie put the question, 
if, supposing that the mt 
were really and perfectly se- 
cured,*" which nevertheless 
api>ears very doubtful, they 
could counterbalance the 
rest? Besides, one could 
not reckon upon so disgrace- 

• The word " many " struck out. 

t Apparently a reference to a proposed marriage of her 
daughter* s children. 

X A cypher, most probably ^660,000. 



^ This person 
thanks God that all 
those things in the 
world which are 
most liable to daz- 
zle are not capable 
of exciting in /ler 
the slightest move- 
ment of tempta- 
tion, or making the 
least impression 
upon hcTy or lead- 
ing her into, any 

" Marriage 

ftil a step producing any 

She repeats that your 
Excellency is absolute mas- 
ter to do wliat you please, 
but that it was impossible 
for /lei* ever to give her ap- 
probation to an " affair *"* 
which would indubitably 
separate he)* daughter from 
he)' interests, and the con- 
sequences of which speak 
but too plainly for them- 
selves. As for the general 
amnesty which your Excel- 
lency deems absolutely ne- 
cessary, I informed vou last 
year what was thought on 
that subject. This person 
merely adds that she had 
christian sentiments, that 
she was neither implacable 
nor animated with an un- 
worthy desire of vengeance, 
" is struck out here. 


far from wishing anything 
harsh and still less cruel: 
but that it would be very 
mortifying to her to find 
herself disappointed of all 
satis&ction after so many 
* and insults. outrages and offences,' which 

cannot be considered as a 
criminal reyenge, but rather 
as a point of honour con- 
formable to the Holy Scrip- 
tures and the example of 
St. Paul. — See the Acts of 
the Apostles^ c. 16, y. 36, 

^ The said person also 
expresses astonishment that 
since the affair in question 
was broached one has neyer 
made such reflections ac- 
companied by the scruples 
now resulting from them ; 
that she was curious to 
learn the origin of it, which 
occupied Iter mind and with 



' in all things. 
* Avhich alone gives 
Iter strength to sup- 
port, &c. 

'' which I should be 
glad to transmit to 
you by a safe chan- 

which $lie was touched; 
that slie was resigned^ to 
divine Providence.' As 
these points are extracted 
from the said paper of the 
19th containing the senti- 
ments on the proper points, 
your Excellency will judge 
of the rest, and I shall re- 
sei-ve the original for you.^ 
" I am delighted that 
the attestation has arrived 
safe ; I do not imagine that 
the buyers vrill make any 
scruples respecting the ma- 
ternal dispositions, or will 
pretend to see them. I 
have the honour to be, with 
great respect, 

. « S. D." 

This curious and interesting document bears 
the date of the 28th of July, 1725. It shows 
that an imprisonment of upwards of thirty years 
was far from having crushed the spirit which had 


led Sophia Dorothea to choose huTniliation and 
loss of liberty, in preference to retaining her 
position at court subject to the insults of a bevy 
of wTintons. The allusion to the " general am- 
nesty" appears to refer to some overtures of re- 
conciliation, either from the King of England or 
the King of Prussia. 

The parties employed by the Princess in car^ 
r}ing on her communications with the Queen of 
Prussia were — Ludewig, a privy councillor at 
Berlin : Frederick, an attendant on the Queen ; 
and Ludemann, who held the office of bailiff or 
Amtmann at Ahlden. It appears, from a paper of 
instructions drawn up by the privy counsellor, 
for Frederick, who was to communicate with the 
bailiff, that affairs were in so bad a state, it was 
impossible to take any steps without making bad 
worse, and causing more unhappiness ; but that 
time and Providence would ameliorate everything. 
We find here the first intimation that the Queen 
desires that the Count de Bar is not to return to 
Berlin, because her Majesty did not like him, 
and she thought he would cause the affair to 

We next come to a long report by Ludemann, 


of his interview with Frederick : as the latter was 
ambassador from the daughter to the mother, what 
passed must be considered of sufficient interest 
to find a place here. 

He says, " The Queen sends her best regards to 
her highness, with the strongest assurances of her 
entire affection, respect and filial devotion, soli- 
citing to maintain a place in the affections of her 
mother, for whom she forwards some presents. 
She would with pleasure have written, but the 
circumstances in which she is placed render it too 
hazardous. The least movement in her highness s 
favour could not be made without great danger. 
That the King of Prussia had set his mind on the 
two marriages,* as being greatly to the welfare of 
his family, though there were many difficulties, 
and much management required in their arrange- 

Much stress is laid on the necessity of refrain- 
ing from stirring in the cause of the Princess 
whilst there was a fear existing of any interference 
with the King's matrimonial views ; consequently 
that Ludewig was not to attempt any communi- 

* The proposed marriages of Sophia Dorothea's grandson 
and granddaughter of the royal family of Prussia. 
VOL. I. A A 


cation — ^that no presents were to be sent — that 
Frederick was not to meet any one, and that 
Ludemann was not to go near him; and that 
Count de Bar was no more to be employed, as the 
Queen thought him a traitor, engaging in the 
affair only with a view to his own interests, and 
that all he had stated to the Princess was sheer 

The bailiff remarks on this denunciation of the 
Count as very strange, considering how faithfully 
he had served the Princess, and for how many 
years previously he had served her father. He 
could not comprehend why the Count should be in 
such discredit with the Queen of Prussia, and desired 
something in writing corroborative of this opinion ; 
but Frederick had nothing of the kind to give. 
At last he gave the privy counsellor s instructions 
on that point In the end the Queen is made to 
promise her mother, if she vnll keep . herself 
quiet till these marriages are completed, to do 
everything in her power to serve her, but par- 
ticularly cautions her against allowing anything 
to escape, which might be made use of to her 

Against her daughter's ill opinion of her counsel- 


lor, Sophia Dorothea makes the following protest. 
The original is in her own hand-writing. 


" In ease there should be repeated at Hanover 
what has been said at Rh^burg, concerning M. le 
Comto de Bar, I declare that mv firm and con- 
stant will is, that the Count de Bar shall continue 
to act for me and my affairs, as he has always 
done hitherto. I ought not, and I will not pre- 
vent those whom Heaven in its infinite mercy has 
been pleased to raise up to have compassion on 
me, from acting in my favour, and for my in- 
terest. In future, however, he shall not annoy 
anybody in Berlin. 

" Sophie Dorothea. 

•• Ahlden, September, 5th,. 1725. 

• " The original of this was added to my tery 
humble remonstrance sent to the King, under the 
address of the private secretary of the cabinet, 
the Sieur Meyer, on the 20th of June, 1725.'! 

With the report of the interview with Frede- 

A a 2 


rick, the Princess was greatly dissatisfied. She 
was not so strongly impressed with the necessity 
of her refraining from ail attempts to communi- 
cate with her daughter, as her daughter seemed 
to be. The following memorandum, acknow- 
ledging the presents, speaks the spirit in which 
she received them. 

" I have received two portraits in miniature set 
in gold, a gold repeater watch garnished with cor- 
nelian, with chain, seal, and gold hook ; an etui 
of mother-o'-pearl with gold, garnished in like 
manner; and a snuff-box covered with a rare 
agate, which I keep till they can be returned 
with safety, it being neither just nor proper that 
I should accept them in the present conjunctures 
and circumstances — excepting the two portraits 
which I retain. 

** Sophie Dorothea. 

" Ahlden, August 26th, 1725." 

Some inrther communications passed between 
the subordinate agents, but they contain nothing 
very important. The Princess was perfectly dis- 
satisfied, and did not believe in the authenticity of 
the documents submitted to her, and the agents en- 


deavoured to prove their genuineness. In the 
following month Sophia Dorothea wrote more at 
length, evidently addressing the Count de Bar. 

" September 27th, 1725.* 
" Notwithstanding the impatience to express the 
infinite joy and consolation caused by the answer, 
I have not ventured to send back the express so 
speedily, lest too frequent journeys should excite 
suspicions in the dragons, the harpies, by whom I 
am surrounded. I think I may do so now, and I 
begin with saying that the assurances and the ex- 
pressions which you have been pleased to employ, 
have restored tranquillity to my mind. I shall 
make use of the same terms, which I hope you 
will recollect, and apply them to myself, and if it 
is possible to go beyond them, rely upon it that it 
shall be done, and that words cannot express all 
that I think, that I have always thought, without 
the least climinution, and what I shall never cease 
to think till my last breath. In the name of God 
be always the same, as I shall be on my part, till 
my latest breath. 

* Wherever I occurs in this paper, with the exception of 
the last two pages, the original has the indefinite Ton. 


'' I have no desire to know the plan, trusting to 
jou with the most perfect confidence to do all 
that you think fit. 

" The proposal of marriage was forgiven at 
once ; forgive too if it drew forth too hasty re- 
marks. Notwitlistanding appearances, I have 
always taken your part, and never could persuade 
myself that inclination urged you to an alliance 
so unworthy of you. I have always strongly be- 
lieved that the mischievous intrigues of bitter 
enemies gave rise to it. 

" The resolution taken with so much presence 
of mind to go to Han. is an inspiration from 
heaven. The gratitude with which I am filled 
equals that which I owe to you, that is to say, it 
is infinite. 

'• As the desired use was made of your letter,* 
I cannot answer it but from memory, and there-^ 
fore am fearful that some article may escape, 
which I earnestly request you to have the good- 
ness to excuse. 

** I have long had violent suspicions respecting 

* A communication from the Count, evidently destroyed 
at liis request, as soou as read. 


Lud.,f but the treachery is now clear. He had 
been ordered to send the paper of the 19th of 
July, and the extract which he was to make from 
that of the 28th, with the letter that he was to 
write to you by express. This rascal allowed it to 
be read : it is there distinctly mentioned that those 
two papers were annexed, and your sentiments 
respecting the manner of remitting hither the 
proceeds of the sale of the bonds were asked by 
way of order. When he showed your answer, I 
expressed surprise that no mention was made of 
the two papers in question ; upon which he re- 
plied that it was no doubt from forgetfiilness that 
you had passed them over in silence, that you had 
sent them both back, and he afterwards returned 
them. It is evident that he sent off a totally 
different letter from that which was seen and ap- 

" I had great difficulty to repress the just in- 
dignation which I felt at the villany of this 

* It may perhaps seem doubtfiil whether this abbreviation 
is intended for Ludemann, the bailiff, or his brother-in-law 
Ludewig, the privy councillor. Both, however, were in 
the same plot against her. But Ludemann is here al- 
luded to. 


wretch; and I had need to call to mind jour 
wish that uo notice should be taken of it jet. 
Many things must have passed at Han., since he 
could so far get the better of himself as to show 
your letter of the 7th of this month, which de- 
clares him so manifestly wliat he is, unless the 
delicate manner in which it is turned prevented 
him from discovering it. I could not resolve to 
inform you in my last of all that I knew about 
13.* being so vexed and so indignant, because you 
spare the same movements ; but there now ap- 
peal's to be a most urgent necessity for acquaint- 
ing you with all the details ; I therefore annex to 
this the pretended instructions of Ludewig to 
Friderich, and the memorandum which Lud. 
made of his conversation \nth the latter, for vour 
better information. I wished to keep these two 
originals, but the repeated solicitations of Lud., 
supported by the reasons contained in these two 
papers, caused' me to think that I ought to return 
them after copying them myself with exact fide- 
lity. The extreme dissatisfaction which they ex- 
cite made me think proper not to keep the pre- 

* It is not quite clear who is meant by this initial : the 
sentence, loo, is not quite intelligible. 


sents which 1. r. de p.* sent, which are marked in 
the receipt which will be found with the other 
papei-s annexed, and which have been carried 
back to Han. by Lud., to whom Friderich was to 
deliver them at Ilhebourg. I apprehend that 
they have not been pilfered, and should be very 
glad to be out of this doubt, and to have it cleared 
up above all things, if you find it practicable, for 
I leave the matter entirely to you. I have thought 
it rigbt to ftiend back the presents that 1. r. d. p. 
(the Queen of Prussia) might thereby know that 
I was much displeased with what was said in my 

" The memorandum, declaring my determina- 
tion in regard to M. le Comte de Bar was, by way 
of reply to the impertinent things said about him, 
and was to be delivered by his own hand to 1. r. 
(the Queen,) \vith the receipt and the presents by 
Friderich. These papers have been brought back by 
Ludeman, and a memorandum in his hand-writing, 
which he says he copied from the original written 
by the hand of 1. r. (the Queen,) which is hereto 
annexed, but which, I am persuaded, is a fabrica- 

* So iu original, an abbreviation of la Reine de Prusse, her 


tion, and which, I think, is useful to keep. All 
that they have pleased to let me know is con- 
tained in the two memorandums in [her] own hand, 
inclosed herewith. I know not if the 5*?* has 
been, and if Lud. has dared to advance anything 
more, as it is strongly denied. I am of opinion, that 
the whole of this black business has been got up 
by the clique here, tor reasons and ends easy to 
he perceived. This affair has produced very deep 
and very poignant chagrin, by exposing the 
whole extent of the deplorable and dangerous 
condition, in which one is, and which is constantly 
getting worse and worse, seeing one*s-self sur- 
rounded more and more by people without faith 
or justice, and whose number is daily increasing, in- 
cessantly exposed to all the calumnies, ialse sup- 
positions, and ill turns of all kinds which they are 
pleased to do, having it in their power more than 
ever to invent the words and the actions which 
they attribute to me, and by which they strive to 
blacken my reputation : Ludeman, who was the 
only channel through which one could ever learn 

* Unintelligible — possibly meant as a cypher for the King 
of Prussia — the writer intending to say that she was ignorant 
of the King having made any inquiries. 


anything, and make known the truth, bemg at 
present absolutely devoted to them. 

" If one apprehended poison several years 
ago, the circumstances in which one is now placed 
are such as to strengthen that fear, and as life is 
not at this present time indifferent, this idea, 
added to all the rest, would be very capable of 
disturbing one's tranquillity if the almighty grace 
of God did not preserve it in the heart, in spite 
of all storms, and did not bestow increased 
strength and courage in proportion to the greater 
need that one has of them. One may say that 
one never had more of them than now, and you 
may rely upon it with entire certainty, that by 
the aid of that divine grace, nothing on earth, 
without any exception, can induce a change of 
sentiments or conduct, or lead to any action in 
the slightest degree mean and unworthy, but that 
one will resolutely and stedfastly adhere to that 
which one has held fast for so many years, with- 
out having ever made the smallest change in it. 
Glory and what one owes to one's self inviolably 
demand it, and all imaginable reasons strongly 
strengthen me in this principle. 

'' The health is good and better than might be 


expected in the agitated state in which one con- 
tinually is. The God of mercy supports one in a 
manner that may be called marvellous, and one 
takes care of one's self, since friends have the 
kindness to interest themselves in one's welfare. 
The strong expressions made use of in the pre- 
ceding, on this subject, were meant to convey aa 
idea of the excess of the annoyance that one is 
receiving from all sides, and that excite a hor- 
rible disgust for the country one lives in, and 
an ardent desire to leave it. 

" One has not yet seen the accounts of the 
Bailiwick's since the year 1721 ; one does not 
know whether to urge for them now or not : one 
finds inconveniences in both. One is justly mis- 
trustful of one's skill in such matters, and is not 
fond of signing things, about which one does not 
see clearly, and which one might have to reiwnt 
of. On the other hand, one has experienced that 
the longer such affairs are in hand, the more 
blunders are committed, to say nothing more. 
Your opinion is desired, and shall be followed to 
the letter. This will cost but two words, for as 
the express cannot come back directly, a note 
will suflice merely to certify the receipt of all 


that shall be delivered, and a few words more if 
you think fit, but which cannot be understood 
by any but the person for whom they shall be 

" Your letter of the 18th and the postscript, 
were communicated on Monday last ; they have 
given great, great pleasure. 

" Thus far was written when one received the 
letter from Ludeman, which shall accompany this, 
with the postscript, which he says he wrote to 
Friderich, and the answer of the latter. The 
pretended memorandum of the R. is very like 
her writing, and the same, word for word, as the 
copy ; but I cannot believe that it is so, and I 
take it to be imitated and counterfeited, since, 
according to Ludeman, she would not entrust it 
to him to bring hither, and for this reason ho was 
obliged to make a copy of it. Besides, I cannot see 
why she should have kept it eleven or twelve days 
after Ludeman's departure, and why she should 
have changed her mind in so short a time, and 
suffered it to pass through so many strange hands ; 
I am resolved to keep it, and not to send it back, 
as Ludeman has so urgently desired. In case it 
might be necessary for you, let me know by the 


express. As I do not consider it so» Ludeman's 
copy answering the same purpose, I have not sent 
it to you, but shall keep it to make use of upon 

^ It is, I think, superfluous to say that the sight 
of the infamous Ludeman is intolerable; that 
speaks for itself. 

" Accept the confirmations and reiterations of 
esteem and gratitude — which surpass all that can 
be imagined and thought — with as much satisfac- 
tion as they are given to you with the most emi- 
nent and perfect truth. 

" S. D." 

It is evident that the poor prisoner placed 
implicit confidence in the faith of her corres- 
pondent, notwithstanding she thought so ill of 
her more subordinate agent Ludeman : but the 
clutch of the drowning man at a straw is not 
more desperate than was the grasp with which 
the Princess held on to the hope of liberation, 
that arose out of her confidence in this man's in- 
tegrity. For a year longer she kept deluding 
herself with a prospect of escape, employing her- 
self as much as possible in doing the poor people 


around her all the good in her ppwer. Her heart 

was sick of the perfidy with wliich she was sur- 
rounded. She saw her own dependants appa- 
rently deeply interested in her unhappy position, 
but only assuming this sympathy that they might 
recommend themselves to her confidence, the 
more effectually to betray her secrets. She 
seemed to breathe an atmosphere of espionage 
and treachery. She was growing old and feeble, 
and the heart that had stood so extraordinary a 
test was fast losing that high coui-age which had 
led her to dare so much. It is not strange that 
she should have clung with such tenacity to her 
confidence in the Count de Bar. 

In the following letter, which is the last of 
those written by Sophia Dorothea at this period, 
she expresses herself more warmly in his favour 
than ever: 

" Ahlden, August Srd, 1726. 
" If it had been in my power, Sir, to answer at 
the same moment that which was faithfully deli- 
vered to me on the 20th of December, last year, 
I would not have delayed till now. Words can 
but &intly express all that I have felt. I should 



have millions of things to reply and to tell jou. 
I reserve them till I next see you : Heaven grant 
that it may ]}e soon. I wait and wish for that 
happy day with an anxiety that deprives me of 
rest. Come, Sir, I conjure you. You know to 
what point you are necessary to me, and on all 
imaginable accounts ; but come in a manner that 
will leave us nothing to fear from the unheard of 
injustice and fury of my enemies. 

'* Be perfectly assured of an esteem that increases 
every moment of my life, as well as my gratitude. 
Both are of such high degree that they are un- 
bounded : and to say all in one word, they are 
proportionate to what you deserve, and above all 
that ever was in the world and that ever will be. 

" Sophie Dorothea. 

" In case a paper should be necessary to pro- 
duce to the public, have the goo<lness, Sir, to send 
me one. I am -fearful that I should not do it in 
proper form. 

" This letter was written, and only waiting an 
opportunity for being dispatched. I add that the 
note of the 13th was delivered to me on the 
17th. I must confess that what is come from 


beyond sea occupies my mind. God grant that 
there may be no obstacle to delay what I have at 
heart more than I can express. You are not ig- 
norant, Sir, what that is ; all my sentiments being 
known to you as to myself. I fancy myself be- 
coming the monster losing its sight ; but I have 
not talked about it. I doubt whether in ex- 
change Heaven will be pleased to open certain 
eyes. I am entirely ignorant of what is passing 
in the world, excepting what the political news 
unfolds. I am guarded, and more pains than ever 
are taken to prevent me from learning anything. 
Heising will deliver this letter to you. I believe 
him to be very faithful, and he can bring me back 
that in question. Say to yourself, Sir, all that 
imagination can conceive most gracious, and you 
will never say enougL 

" Sophie Dorothea. 

" August 19th, 1726, three o'clock in the morning.*' 

The allusion of the unhappy Princess to a 
paper to be produced to the public looks as if on 
effecting her escape she intended publishing an 
appeal to the world for justice against those who 
had so infamously wronged her. It is impossible 

VOL. I. B B 

370 MEMOUtS OF, &C. 

to read the eloquent expressions of the poor cap- 
tive's gratitude to her supposed friend without 
feeling the deepest disgust for his well-^acted hy- 

Count de Bar got possession of the large sum 
of money that had been entrusted to him. He 
paid the trifling legacies Sophia Dorothea had 
mentioned, but the very considerable suq)Ius he 
chose to retain, nor could a suit at law, whicli 
was subsequently brought against him for its 
recovery, make him restore his plunder. 


Misgovemment of George L— General dishonesty of bis Ger- 
man dependants — Uis partiality for Hanover — His at- 
tempted assassination — The Court of St. Jamcs*s — The 
Duchess of Kendal raised to the dignity of a Princess — Her 
affected piety — Her natural children — Countess of Darling- 
ton and her daughter — George I. extremely careful of the 
health of Sophia Dorothea — A prophecy — His superstition 
— His unpopularity — He quarrels with his son — His alarm 
at hearing of the illness of his repudiated consort — Sophia 
Dorothea's appearance — Her despair produces serious ill- 
ness — Extraordinary scene — Death of Sophia Dorothea — 
Observations on the infamous tyranny to which she became 
the victim — Effect of the intelligence of his wife's death 
upon George I. — He leaves England for Hanover — Is taken 
ill on the road — His sudden and awlul death — Remarks — 
The Duchess of Kendal's behaviour on learning this cata- 
strophe — The black raven — Dispersion of the old King's 

B B 2 



In the meantime the despotic husband of 
the royal captive reigned over his new kingdom 
like an eastern Pacha, who looks upon his govern- 
ment only as a source of revenue for himself and 
his dependents. A complete Turkish system of 
spoliation distinguished the reign of George I. 
His Hanoverian favourites hung on the country 
like leeches, and still their cry was ** Give, give T 
Their impudent robberies, and reckless extrava- 
gance, disgusted every one but their employer, 
who seemed to consider that everything in Engr 
land should be subject to Hanoverian rapacity. 

A countryman of his, who filled a high station 
in the royal kitchen, requested leave to return to 
the Electorate, excusing himself from remaining 
any longer in his master's service, in consequence 


of the reckless waste and inordinate plunder he 
was daily in the habit of witnessing when engaged 
in his culinary operations. 

" Never mind," replied the monarch, " I am 
now rich enough to bear the expense. Do you 
steal like the rest ; and," he added, with a chuckle 
of satisfaction, " be sure you take enough." 

In fact, George I. had no honesty, nor did he 
give any one around him the credit of possessing 
such a quality. To the remonstrances of Sir 
Robert Walpole against the open and scandalous 
sale of places and dignities by his German fa- 
vourites, he insultingly replied, ** I suppose y(M 
are also paid for your recommendations." 

We cannot wonder, with such a sovereign, that 
a rebellion should have displayed itself with the 
object of restoring the exiled Stuarts : and though 
he succeeded in crushing it, the ferocity with which 
he punished several of the unfortunate adherents of 
his rival whb fell into his power, did anything 
rather than render more favourable the opinion 
the majority of his subjects entertained of 

Notwithstanding the wealth he had found and 
squandered in his new kingdom, and the appar 


rently inexhaustible nature of its resources, he 
took no pains to conceal from his subjects that 
his poor electorate was a thousand times more 
dear to his heart. It seemed as though Great 
Britain was regarded by him more in the light of 
a temporary possession, which was to be made to 
give up all its treasures, and then abandoned to 
the next comer, whilst Hanover was the home to 
which he might retire when necessary, for the pur- 
pose of enjoying at his leisure the gains he had 
squeezed out of his kingdom. 

He placed as little confidence as possible in the 
English attendants and ministry he found himself 
obliged to employ. He would allow none of 
them to enter his chamber when he retired for 
the night, or when he rose hi the morning. In 
signing a treaty, or making a declaration of wan 
he seemed to care only for his beloved Hanover ; 
and however pressing might be the necessity of 
his remaining in his kingdom, he would not delay 
a moment when he felt desirous of visiting his 

The revenues of Hanover were small, and he 
had been lised to keep pretty well within their 
bounds ; but although those he derived from his 


new govemment were so very much larger, he had 
made such an improvident use of them, that in 
the year 1725 he called upon parliament to defray 
the debts of the civil list, which amounted to the 
immense sum of five hundred thousand pounds. 
John Bull must have proved a goose worth the 
plucking, when it was discovered, that besides the 
vast resources of the country, George the First 
had contrived to squander half a million of 

However shocking the crime, we cannot con- 
sider it extraordinary that an attempt should bo 
made to assassinate such a King. This circum- 
stance is thus alluded to in a letter from Lord 
Chesterfield to his son. 

" I cannot help reading of Porsenna and Re- 
gulus with surprise and reverence ; and yet I re- 
member that I saw, without either, the execution 
of Shepherd, a boy of eighteen years old, who in- 
tended to shoot the late King, and who would 
have been pardoned, if he would have expressed 
the least sorrow for his intended crime ; but^ on 
the contrary, he declared that if he was pardoned, 
he would attempt it again ; that he thought it a 
duty which he owed his country, and that he died 


with pleasure for having endeavoured to perform 
it. Reason equals Shepherd with Reguius ; but 
prejudice, and the recency of the fact, makes 
Shepherd a common malefactor, and Reguius a 

The public mind must have been in a very 
restless state to have brought forth such finiit as 
this ; but the King was perfectly regardless of it, 
and continued in the same reckless course, im- 
poverishing the country, and enriching his greedy 

The lively pen of Horace Walpole has produced 
a characteristic picture of the Court of St. James's, 
to the splendours of which he was introduced 
when a child. " I must suppose," he says, " that 
the female attendants in the family must have put 
in my head to long to see the King. This childish 
caprice was so strong, that my mother solicited 
the Duchess of Kendal to obtain for me the 
^ honour of kissing his Majesty's hand before he set 
out for Hanover. A favour so unusual to be 
asked for a boy of ten years old, was still too 
slight to be refused to the wife of the first miiiister 
for her darling child ; yet not being proper to be 
made a precedent, it was settled to be in private, 


and at night Accordingly^ the night but one 
before the King began his last journey, my mother 
carried me, at ten at night to the apartment of 
the Countess of Walsingham. on the ground-floor 
towards the garden at St. James's, which oi>ened 
into that of her aunt [mother] the Duchess of 
Kendal ; apartments occupied by George the 
Second after his Queen's death, and by his suc- 
cessive mistresses — the Coimtesses of Suifolk ami 

•' Notice being given tliat the King was come 
doAvn to supper, Lady Walsingham took me alone 
into the Duchess's ante-room, where we found 
alone the King and her. I knelt down and kissed 
his hand. He said a few words to me, and my 
conductress led me back to my mother. 

" The person of the King is as perfect in my 
memorv as if I saw him but vesterdav. It was 
that of an elderly man, rather pale, and exactly like 
his pictures and coins ; ilot tall, of an aspect rather 
good than august, with a dark tie-wig, a plain 
coat, waistcoat, and breeches of snuiF-coloured 
clotli, with stockings of the same colour, and a 
blue riband over all. So entirely was he my ob- 
ject, that I do not believe I once looked at the 


Duchess ; but as I could not avoid seeing her on 
entering the room, I remember that j'ust beyond 
his Majesty stood a veiy tall, lean, ill-favoured 
old lady ; but I did not retain the least idea of 
her features, nor know what the colour of her 
dress was." 

This " very tall, lean, ill-favoured old lady," was 
all that remained of the once beautiful Made- 
moiselle Schulenburg, for whom the Princess 
Sophia Dorothea had been so infamously sacrificed. 
She had been one of the most greedy of the 
harpies who preyed upon the resources of the un- 
fortunate kingdom, and titles and wealth had 
flowed upon her without stint. She, however, 
was not satisfied. The name and dignity of a 
Princess was to crown her ambitious aspirations, 
and she was ultunately allowed to retire to her 
native Germany, with a splendid fortune, and the 
high-sounding name of Princess of Eberstein. 
This retirement, however, did not last long, and 
did not take place till some years subsequently to 
the period at which we have arrived. It has been 
stated by Horace Walpole that her influence- over 
the Kii% was so great as to induce him privately 


to marry her on the left luind.* However, whe- 
ther married or not, the Kings ugly favourite 
ruled him as his beautiful wife had never done. 
Like many others of her infamous class, she 
affected a wonderful respect for religion, and 
went seven times every Sabbath to Lutheran 

Her daughters by the King, who always passed 
for her nieces, were of course well provided for, 
and made excellent marriages ; tbe eldest being 
united to the celebrated Earl of Chesterfield, and 
the youngest to a distinguished German noble- 
man, the Count von Lippe. The Countess of 
Darlington, the " ogress," had one daughter by 
the King, who also shared handsomely in the ge- 
neral plunder that was going on, and afterwards 
married Viscount Howe, an Irish nobleman, by 
whom she bad a son destined to raise the family 
to an enviable distinction. He was Admiral Lord 
Howe. ^ 

In the last years of his life, George the First 

* This is also steted in a letter from Etough to Dr. Birch, 
in the British Museum, where the Archbbhop of York has 
the credit, or discredit, of having performed the ceremony. — 
See Add. MSS. 4326, B. 


seems to have felt some compunctious visitings of 
conscience respecting his conduct to bis innocent 
wife. Although he had taken every possible care 
to prevent her escape, he had always been no less 
regardful for the conservation of her health. This, 
however, proceeded from no lingering affection 
for the mother of his children. For neither parent 
nor oifspring had he any feeling of regard : indeed, 
with his son he was living in such undisguised 
hostility, that if he could have disinherited him, 
he would ; but, like all weak minds, he was in- 
tensely superstitious, and a woman who had the 
reputation of a prophetess having many years pre- 
viously warned him to take care of his wife, for 
that he would not survive her twelve months, he 
had employed as much care to keep her alive as 
to detain her in prison. 

As old age began to creep upon him he became 
more apprehensive respecting the prophecy. His 
uneasiness and anxiety grew to such a height, that 
it is very probable, had it not been for the in- 
fluence of the harpies around him, he would have 
restored his consort to all her rights, and acknow- 
ledged the injustice that had been done her. It 
has even been stated that he made proposals for 


a reconciliation to bis unhappy captive, and tliat 
she returned the spirited answer — ^ If what I am 
accused of be true, I am unworthy of his bed ; aiid 
if the accusation be false, he is unworthy of me. 
I will not accept his otter." 

This reply, however, seems to belong to a much 
earlier period of her imprisonment, when a pro- 
[)osal was made for her return to her Iiusband, un- 
accompanied with such an acknowledgment of 
the wrongs she had endured, and of such security 
tor lier honour and happiness, as would have justi- 
fied a virtuous woman accepting it. 

Although such a proceeding is not probable at 
this period, considering how many persons there 
were about the King, deeply interested in prevent- 
ing it, there is good reason for believing he looked 
for inteHigence from the Castle of Ahlden with a 
morbid curiosity, and heard any account of the 
indisposition of his prisoner with a feverish unea- 
siness, as thaugh ho felt it was the herald of his 
own dissolution. 

All this time his position in his new dominions 
was far from being as agreeable as he desired. 
He was with his people, as unpopular a monarch 
as ever ruled. Every kind of squib and carica- 


ture was directed against his unprepossessing 
features and ungainly figure, whilst bis passion for 
women uglier than himself at once provoked both 
ridicule and contempt. The sanguinary measures 
he had taken to put down the rebellion of 1715 
had " scotched the snake, not killed it/' and he 
was daily made aware that the partisans of the 
Pretender were becoming in greater favour vdth 
the people, who, to contrast him with their pre- 
sent sovereign, M'ere duly impressed with hi» 
amiable character and handsome appearance. 
War threatened him at home and abroad ; his arms 
had more than once been covered with disgrace, 
and he had contracted a navy debt of one million 
seven hundred thousand pounds. 

In his domestic relations, matters were not any 
better. He had chosen to take offence because 
the Prince of Wales had thought proper to have 
his own child christened without reference to him, 
and in the first burst of his wrath, he ordered the 
Prince to be put under arrest, and then to quit 
the palace.* The Prince and his family retired to 

* The King wanted to force upon his son as godfather of 
the infant, the Duke of Newcastle, a man the Prince particu- 
larly disliked. The squahble which ensued formed the sub- 


Leicester House, where lie was quickly surrounded 
by clever yet turbulent spirits, determined to 
make the most of the misunderstanding. The 
King made no secret of liis hatred of his son, 
whom he took every occasion to humiliate. So 
intense liad this feeling become, that a proposition 
was made to him, by a creature about the Court, 
to kidnap the heir apparent, and send liim to tiie 
I)lantations ; and was so far entertained by his 
Majesty, that only by the most powerful repre- 
sentations could his ministers get him to abandon it. 
The Prince was as little careful of concealing his 
contempt for his father, whom he was equally 
ready to aggravate. The sayings and doings of 
the two, in opposition to each other, afforded in- 
finite food for scandal. 

George the First continued to grow more morose 
and more mieasy, and frequently gave way to 
violent fits of passion. In the midst of his troubles 
he received news from Germany of the serious 

ject of a burlesque upon Chevy Chase, written by Lord Stao- 
hope, afterwards the celebrated Earl of Chesterfield. The 
ideas expressed are remarkable for anything rather than re- 
finement, but the verses contain a good deal of hnmorooa 


illness of his persecuted consort. The Princess 
had made her last effort to effect her liberation, 
after an incarceration of upwards of thirty years. 
She had hoped for assistance from her daughter, 
and her mind had become buoyant with the most 
sanguine anticipations of success. But the Queen 
of Pnissia either could not or would not do any- 
thing for her, and the Count de Bar proved a traitor. 

Previously to this disappointment, the unhappy 
prisoner had contrived to preserve her good looks, 
and seemed to enjoy excellent health. In the 
latter part of her life she was still tall, and rather 
portly in her appearance. This is confirmed by the 
evidence of Mary Rathye, who had always lived 
at Ahlden, and had frequently assisted in cleaning 
the apartments during the residence of the Princess. 
The same statement has been made by Caroline 
Wilhelmina Hardt, widow of a surgeon at Ahlden, 
yet a native of Turkey, who had been at Ahlden, 
,^,nd was acquainted with the person of the royal 

She continued to drive about the neighbour- 
hood, attended as usual by a legion of guards and 
spies ; was as busy as ever in superintending her 
household, though the same details had been her 

VOL. I. c c 


daily task for nearly thirty-two years ; and took 
the same interest in the advancement of the 
village (jhildren, though a second generation had 
taken the place of those who first obtained her 
notice ; and continued to write, though her corre- 
spondents had been so thinned by death, they were 
reduced almost entirely to the person entrusted 
with her negociations Avith her daughter. 

A sense of despair seems at last to have crashed 
her high spirit. She took to her bed in the autumn 
of 1726. A strong fever, with great mental ex- 
cit43ment, was her malady. Her attendants thought 
she was delirious, for she spoke wildly of her 
wrongs, and made use of strange expressions re- 
specting her husband. The spies were horror- 
struck at the awful earnestness with which the 
dying victim of domestic tyranny denounced their 
employer ; and the authorities at Ahlden strove to 
prevent any news of these terrible scenes and re- 
velations getting abroad: 

The patient grew worse, and on the 13th of 
November, the once lovely and innocent Princess 
Sophia Dorothea of Zelle, lay a corpse in the 
prison in which she had so long been immured. 
Thirty-two years — a life to many — the unhapjw 


creature had thus dragged out, robbed of her 
children, her liberty, and her rights. 

There is no record of so abominable a wrong 
ever having been committed even by the worst of 
despots. The Neros and Caligulas were careless 
of human life; the monsters of the Inquisition 
were regardless of human suffering ; the Marats 
and Robespierres shed seas of human blood ; but 
incarnate demons as these were, they tortured and 
thev killed, and all was over. We have heard of 
slow fires for the victims of intolerance, and pro- 
longed torments for criminals of state, but what 
executioner ever before presided over a torture 
that was to last for the best part of half a century ? 
This cold-blooded atrocity, too, to be mflicted on 
a delicate female — a Princess by birth, a wife, and 
a mother ! 

Yet an executioner was found who went through 
this unparalleled cruelty with a stem determina- 
tion that the most unfeeling inquisitors, and the 
worst of revolutionary miscreants, might have 
envied ; and he was the man whose dull heart had 
been warmed by the affections of his victim, ,who 
was the father of her children, and by the laws of 

CO 2 


God and man the conservator of her happiness 
and tho guardian of her honour. 

We have had pretty specimens of royal tyranny 
in our Richard the Third and Henry the Eighth. 
Both monarchs were remarkable for their Trnnt 
of sympathy for their own flesh and blood. Yet 
their murders were, comparatively speaking; 
humane. The slow assassination of his wife by- 
George the First, in iniamy, stands alone and un- 
rivalled. But the act, atrocious as it is, becomes 
the more infamous when we look at the vile and 
paltry causes that led to it. A profligate hus- 
band, leaguing himself with a bevy of wantons 
to disgrace his own wife : a wife who, after the 
most searching inquiry, has been adjudged free 
from crime, and who, in truth, was but too virtu- 
ous in heart, and too noble in spirit, for the base 
crew amongst which it was her misfortune 
that her lot should be cast. The case is a most 
deplorable one : the even-handed justice .which^ 
we are wont to attribute to human nature as an 
all-pervading influence, seems to have entirely 
disappeared, and in its place we see vice triumphant, 
dishonour exalted, and meanness taking the privi- 


leges of nobility, while a helpless and inuoceut 
woman is left for thirty-two yeai-s pining away 
in an obscure prison, hopelessly enduring a . fate 
only awarded to the most dangerous, or the most 
degraded criminals. 

When George the First heard that his victim 
had, by the sure aid of death, passed fi-om his 
iron grasp, the prophecy came upon his conscience 
with an irresistible force. It will generally be 
found that these evil doers, beyond the reach of 
the law, are exceedingly subject to "the still small 
voice," that makes them tremble even in their 
pride of power, as though they were in the pre- 
sence of the avenging angel. * Some secret super- 
stition — some powerful presentiment— or some 
touch of remorse, brings down the tyrant's spirit, 
and makes it crawl in fear and humbleness, even 
to the coming of that summons which shall send 
it a grovelling suppliant to the judgmentHseat^ 
whose everlasting principles it has so grossly out- 

So it was with the Hanoverian King of JBng- 
land. In the intelligence of his vrife's death, he 
heard the warning of his own. He fell into a 


profound melancholy, out of which of course all the 
attractions of his ugly harem could not charm 
him. If roused by some more vehement burst of 
passion than ordinary against his son, or against 
some other of his connexions, he would sink again 
into the same unwholesome torpor. Month passed 
after month, appearing to him as so many steps 
to a yawning gulph of pitchy blackness and un- 
fathomable depth which he was involuntarily ap- 
proaching. His feelings became torturing: his 
sense of impending evil, traced like a second Bel- 
shazzar, the awful hand-writing on the wall. He 
felt an irresistible longing to visit Hanover ; and 
on the 3rd of June started from England, in com- 
pany with the Duchess of Kendal and Lord 
Townshend. Both his companions, however, were 
left at diiferent places, while he travelled, as it 
seemed, towards the spot where, in the family vaults 
at Zelle, her attendants had consigned, with proper 
honours, the^ corpse of his repudiated consort 

The official accounts state, that on the morning 
of the 10th the King was seized with a fit of 
apoplexy whilst travelling in his carriage, and 
when he reached Ippenburen, he was discovered 
in a state of insensibility, with his eye-balls gla* 


ring fixedly, and his tongue hanging out of his 
mouth. The attendants proposed staying where 
they were, and seeking medical assistance, but the 
King had sufficient power of speech to say, 
" Osnabriick, Osnabriick T and to this place they 
set oft' at full speed. It was the last word the 
King ever uttered, for on the equipage stopping 
at this episcopal city, George the First was found 
to be a corpse. 

There is, however, another account, which, 
tinged as it is with superstition, we cannot refrain 
from giving. The authority is Lockhart of 
Carnwath, a Jacobite partisan, who left some in- 
teresting memorials of the stirring events of those 

" Having," he says, " mentioned King George's 
death, it will not be reckoned a great digression to 
give an account of a paper which, perhaps, is not 
so well known in Britain as in other parts of 
Europe. About eight or ten- weeks after his 
death, the copy of a letter was propagated and 
handed about at most of the courts of Europe, 
especially in Germany. An account and copy 
thereof, was, whilst I was at . Aix-la-Chapelle, sent 
by a gentleman of distinction in Paris to a French 


officer, and the like from Vienna to General Count 
KcIIing, Governor of Luxembourg, who gave me 
the copy of it, and assured me it was dispersed all 
over Germanv. He added that some people gave 
no credit to the commission mentioned in the 
letter being either given or executed, believing^ 
the whole to be a story forged to vindicate the 
reputation of the late Electress of Hanover. 
However that may be, it took with a great many; 
:lik1 be the story true or ialse, the displaying it so 
industriously showed that the said EIectress*s 
friends, some naming her son, and others the King 
of Prussia, carried their resentment high against 
her husband, by their endeavours to blacken his 
memory, and represent his exit in such a man- 
ner. Follows the letter in English from the 
French : — 

" The circumstances of King George's death 
are terrible, and worth the knowledge of all our 
friends : they are kept as much concealed as pos- 
sible, even in Germany, so probably will be a 
secret both in England and France. What was 
told me lately, by a person of superior rank, and 
of great esteem in these parts, I had heard imper* 
fectly before from a lady of quality. It seemed 


when the late Electress was dangerously ill of her 
last sickness, slie delivered to a faithful friend a 
letter to her husband, upon promise that it should 
be given into his own hands. It contained a pro- 
testation of her innocence, a reproach for his hard 
usage and unjust treatment, and concluded with a 
summoTis or citation to Iier husband to appear wit/iin 
the year and the day at the divine tribunal, and 
there to answer for the long and many injuries 
she had received from him. 

" As this letter could not with safety to the 
bearer be delivered in England or Hanover, it was 
given to him in his coach on the road. He opened 
it immediately, supposiog it came from Hanover : 
he was so struck with these unexpected contents, 
and his fatal citation, that his convulsions and 
apoplexy came fast on him ; after being blooded, 
his mouth turned awry, and they then proposed 
to drive off to a nearer place than Osnabiirg, but 
he signed twice or thrice with his hand to go on, 
and that was the only mark of sense be showed. 
This is no secret among the Catholics in Germany, 
but the Protestants hush it up as much as they 

can." • 

* Lockhart Papers, vol. ii. p. 351. 


There may, in this marvellons narratiye^ be 
some exag^ratioD, but there is nothing incredible 
in the principal features of it The poor Princess 
on her death-bed was known to haye expressed 
herself very strongly, and there is every reason to 
believe did write a letter to her husband, upbraid- 
ing him for his infamous conduct towards her. 
Writing under great excitement, there is nothing 
extraordinary in the strange citation which it was 
reported she had so forcibly addressed to him ; 
and if this letter was delivered to the King on his 
journey, in the state of mind in which he was at 
that period, it was very likely to produce apo- 

That this was a fulfilment of the prophecy to 
which we have alluded, we are not prepared to 
aver, nor is there anything marvellous in the ex- 
istence of such a prediction, because it might have 
been made by some friend of the Princess, know- 
ing her lord's superstitious tendencies, with the 
object of insuring her safety. We believe of all 
the many apparently supernatural things that are 
continually exciting the attention of the vulgar, 
their marvellous effects might be traced to 
very common- place causes, had we the proper 


The death of George the First seems to have 
very much the appearance of what is familiarly 
called " a judgment ;" and if ever there was an 
instance where one was called for, and was likelv 
to have a wholesome effect, it was this. But in 
whatever light we regard it, there are many at- 
tendant circumstances that make it peculiarly 
awfiil, and the mind the most free from super- 
stitious influences can scarcely divest itself of a 
latent belief, that this sudden rupture of the 
King's soul from his body, was a manifestation of 
the existence of that incorruptible and unavoid- 
able justice, that, with the like impartiality, called 
to its awful tribunal the broken-hearted wife and 
her profligate tyrant. 

The demise of George the First was as imex- 
pected by most of his friends, as by himself. The 
Duchess of Kendal, or rather the Princess of 
Eberstein, had reason • to be the most shocked. 
The intelligence was brought to her as she was has- 
tening to join him, and she instantly gave way to 
a transport of the most violent grief, tearing her 
hair, beating her breast, and committing the 
wildest extravagances of woe. When suflSciently 
recovered to proceed, she travelled to Bruns- 



wick, wbero she lived in seclusion for three 

Her occupation was gone. She had been too 
active in exciting and keeping up the animosity 
of the deceased King against his son and succes- 
5>or, to be tolerated in a new reign within the pre- 
cincts of the court : therefore she soon found it 
was necessary that she should reconcile herself to 
a more honest course of life, seeing there was 
nothing more to be got by her infamy. We be- 
lieve she became what the world styles " highly 
respectable," and principally resided at Kendal 
House, near Twickenham, where she died in the 
spring of 1743, at the mature age of eighty-four, 
leaving immense wealth, and being, of course, uni- 

versallv lamented. 


Horace Walpole, who printed every legend 
he heard, however extravagant, says, " In a 
tender mood, George the First promised the 
Duchess >)f Kendal that if she survived him, 
and it were j)ossible for the departed to return 
to this world, he would make her a visit. The 
Duchess, on his death, so much expected the 
accomplishment of that engagement, that a 
large raven, or some black fowl, flying into one 


of the windows of her villa at Isleworth, she 
was persuaded it was the soul of her departed 
monarch so accoutred, and received and treated 
it with all the respect and tenderness of duty, till 
the royal bird or she took their last flight." 

The Duchess happened to be in Germany when 
the King died, so that the " royal bird " must have 
been some time finding his way to the country 
mansion of his expectant mistress. 

Of the younger of the two superannuated cour- 
tezans who had proved such vindictive enemies 
to Sophia Dorothea, little remains to be said. The 
Countess of Darlington died in the year 1730, 
though the junior of her more powerful coadjutor, 
preceding her to the tomb by several years. The 
King, however, could not be satisfied with a re- 
duced establishment, but in selecting a lady to 
supply the vacancy, either from policy or inclina- 
tion, chose an Englishwoman. She was a Miss 
Brett, daughter of the idfamous Countess of 
Macclesfield, and sister of the poet Savage. She 
also was allowed apartments in St. James' Palace, 
and notwithstanding her evident advantages in 
youth and looks, she contrived in a very short 
time to render herself as obnoxious to the royal 


fumily as either of her unprepossessing seniors. 
Fortunately her reign was brief: the sudden death 
of her royal protector made it necessary she should 
quit the building she disgraced with as much ala- 
crity as she had entered it. The rest of the 
Hanoverian coterie dispersed at the same time, as 
they were soon made aware that their services 
might be dispensed with by the new sovereign. 


The son of Sophia Dorothea — His sympathy in his mother's 
hard fate — Destroys the will of George the First — Lord 
Chesterfield threatens legal proceedings — Receives a recom- 
pense — Will of Sophia Dorothea destroyed by her husband 
— Queen Caroline — George the Second visits Hanover — 
Burns his mother's letters — Curse supposed to be entailed 
on the Brunswick family — Fate of Geoi^e the Second's heir — 
Fate of George the Second — Story of Caroline Matilda— Fa- 
mily dissensions continuing in the family of every successor 
to the throne till the death of George the Fourth — The 
crown goes out of the direct line at his decease — Disap- 
pearance of the curse — Sophia Dorothea's descendants by 
her daughter — Atrocious conduct of the King of Prussia to 
his family — The crown of Prussia goes out of the direct 
line at the demise of the grandson of Sophia Dorothea — 
Her existing descendants — Their interest in her story — 
Princess Elizabeth — The late Landgravine of Hesse-Hombui^ 
writes Memoirs of Sophia Dorothea. 



The son of Sophia Dorothea was also affected 
by the death of George the First, but we cannot 
state that he was greatly grieved at it. The ani- 
mosity that existed between the father and son 
had made prodigious advances in the few last 
months of the old King's life. Probably the 
death of the unhappy captive at Ablden had given 
a fresh stimulus to her son's ill feeling towards 
his other parent. He had shown more than once 
a deep interest in her sufferings, and had she 
survived her husband, it is presumed he would 
have lost no time in effecting her liberation, and 
probably would have placed her in a position 
worthy of her rank. The existence of this favour- 
able feeling towards his persecuted mother, how- 
ever, does not rest upon the very best authority ; 
but there can be no question as to the hostility he 

VOL. I. D D 


exhibited towards his father both before and after 
his decease. 

There is a story of Mrs, Howard, afterwards 
Countess of Suffolk, having, on the day he as- 
cended the throne, discovered in his apartment, a 
picture representing a lady habited in the electoral 
robes, which proved to be a portrait of his mother 
the Prince had secreted while his father lived, 
but displayed directly he heard of his death. 
This, however, seems apocryphal. The Princess 
was a prisoner before her husband succeeded to 
the electorate, and it is not veiy probable that she 
obtained the electoral robes while suffered to bear 
only the title of Duchess of Ahlden, or that she 
found an artist to take her portrait in the closely- 
watched fortress in which she was confined. Ne- 
vertheless, the Crown Prince may have employed 
an artist to paint such a portrait without his seeing 
the original, and in such a costume, and this he 
may have concealed ; but we regret to say there is 
no evidence of his having performed an act so 
creditable to him. 

An extraordinary display of the state of his 
feelings occurred when Dr. Wake, Archbishop of 
Canterbury, one of the executors appointed by 


the late King, appeared before the Privy Council 
to make known the conditions of his last will. 
The Archbishop was going to read it, when the 
new monarch very coolly walked up to him, 
seized hold of the document, turned on his heel, 
and quitted the council chamber. The will was 
never afterwards seen or heard of, — one of the 
many striking instances that occurred of the ex- 
traordinary respect for the laws of the country 
they had been called to govern, displayed by 
the two first sovereigns of the house of Hanover. 

" The poor prelate,'' says Horace Walpole, who 
gives a detailed account of this curious scene, 
** was thunderstruck when George the Second 
stalked out of the room with the will in his 
pocket, and had not the presence of mind or the 
courage to demand the testament's being opened, 
or at least to have it registered. No man present 
chose to be more hardy than the person to whom 
the deposit had been trusted; perhaps none of 
them immediately conceived the possible violation 
of so solenm an act so notoriously existent. Still, 
as the King never mentioned the will more, whis- 
pers only by degress informed the public that the 

D D 2 


will had been burned, at least that its injunctions 
were never fulfilled. 

'' What the contents were,** the same writer 
adds, '' was never ascertained. Report said that 
forty-thousand pounds had been bequeathed to 
the Duchess of Kendal, and more vague rumours 
spoke of a large legacy to the Queen of Prussia, 
daughter of the late King. Of that bequest de- 
mands were afterwards said to have been fre- 
(juently and roughly made by her son, the great 
King of Prussia, (Frederick the Great,) between 
whom and his uncle subsisted much inveteracy.** 

It became rumoured that the Countess of Wal- 
singham was mentioned in this testament with 
a bequest to a very large . amount ; and her hus- 
band, the Earl of Chesterfield, subsequently, when 
he had been rudely treated by the new sovereign, 
was not disposed to be so impudently cheated out 
of his legacy. He commenced legal proceedings, 
which,^ according to some accounts, George' the 
Second stopped by paying the sum of twenty 
thousand pounds ; Glover, the author of Leonidas^ 
in an account of the transaction introduced in his 
memoirs, says fifty thousand pounds. 


" But if the Archbishop,*' continues Walpole, 
whose revelations are as startling as they are 
caustic, " had too timidly betrayed the trust re- 
posed in him from weakness and want of spirit, 
there were two other men who had no such plea 
of imbecility, and who, being independent and 
above being awed, basely sacrificed their honour 
and integrity for positive sordid gain. George 
the First had deposited duplicates of his will with 
two sovereign German princes. I \vill not specify 
them, because at this distance of time I do not 
perfectly recollect their titles ; but I was actually, 
some years ago, shown a copy of a letter from one 
of our ambassadoi-s abroad to a- secretary of state at 
that period, in which the ambassador said, one of 
the princes in question would accept the proffered 
subsidy, and had delivered, or would deliver, the 
duplicate of the King s will. The other trustee 
was no doubt as little conscientious and as cor- 
rupt. It is a pity the late^King of Prussia did 
not learn their infamous treachery. Discoursing 
once with Lady Suffolk on that suppressed testa- 
ment, she made the only plausible shadow of an 
excuse that could be made for George the Se- 
cond. She told me that George the First had 


burned two wills made in favour of his son. They 
were probably the wills of the Duke and Duchess 
of Zelle, or one of them might be that of his mo- 
ther, the Princess Sophia.** 

As the testamentary arrangements of the Duke 
and Duchess of Zelle are well known, the first 
guess of Horace Walpole as to the destroyed wills 
is wide of the mark, but in the other it is clear he 
is correct. It is not unreasonable to suppose 
that the unhappy prisoner at Ahlden desired to 
bequeath her property to her children, and did so 
bequeath it ; and it is very probable that at dif- 
ferent periods she executed two different testa- 
ments. At her decease, both must have fidlen 
into the hands of her husband ; and as he seized 
her property, and was at Tariance with both her 
children, he of course made away with these wills. 
Walpole's authority, Lady Suffolk, was likely to 
be well informed of this iniquitous transaction by 
her intimate connexion with the court. 

The son of Sophia Dorothea was not quite so 
bad a sovereign to the people of England as her 
husband had been; but he was very far from 
being a good one, and much of what was credit- 
able in his conduct he owed to the influence of 


his consort, who with some affectations united 
much strong sense and considerable tact in con- 
ducting herself towards a person of his disposition. 
A couplet in Tickell's " Kensington Garden" tells 
us that she was 

" Form'd to gain hearts that Brunswick's cause denied. 
And chann a people to her father's side." 

Nevertheless she possessed some strange charac- 
teristics, not the least amusing of which was her 
exhibition of a capacity she fancied she possessed 
for giving her attention to matters most dissimilar 
and unconnected. Her particular pursuits, as she 
chose to display them, were a sort of ** happy 
family " of things as uncongenial and antagonistic 
as possible. " Her levees," we are told by Arch- 
deacon Coxe, " were a strange picture of the 
motley character and manners of a queen and a 
learned woman. She received company while she 
was at her toilet ; prayers, and sometimes a ser- 
mon, were read ; learned men and divines were 
intermixed with courtiers and ladies of the house- 
hold; the conversation turned on metaphysical 
subjects, blended with repartees, sallies of piirth, 
and the tittle-tattle of a drawing-room.** 

408 MfiMOIBS OF 

An historian of our own period adds a few gra- 
phic touches to this picture : — " On the tables 
perhaps, lay heaped together the newest ode by 
Stephen Duck upon her beautr, her last letter 
from Leibnitz upon free-will, and a most high- 
wrought panegyric of Dn Clarke on her ** inevi- 
table sweetness of temper,** ** impartial love of 
truth,** and " very particular and uncommon 
degree of knowledge, even on matters of the most 
abstract speculation."* 

But the cleverness of Queen Caroline, universal 
as she desired to represent it, could not save her 
consort from the vices and follies he appears to 
have inherited with the crown. As it had been 
with his predecessor, Hanover continued to be 
regarded as '' the immediate jewel of his soal»'* 
and the prosperity of his kingdom was jeopar- 
dised by his interest in this petty electorate. 
He visited the latter more than once, and made 
some inquiries • into the transactions connected 
with his mother's history and &te. But Greoige 
the Second was of too indolent a nature to cany 
out such measures in the- manner the case re- 
quired. He merely examined the letters sent by 
* Lord Mahon's History of England. 


Sophia Dorothea to the unfortunate Konigsmark, 
and then made the same use of them it is probable 
he had previously made of his father's will, — he 
burnt them.* 

In his visits to his continental dominions, the 
son of Sopbia Dorothea followed the footsteps of 
his father by entangling himself with mistresses ; 
and after the death of his consort he still more 
conspicuously proved his claim to the blood royal 
by quartering them in the palace. 

If ever there was an instance of that fearful 
threat held out in the decalogue, of visiting the sins 
of the fathers^ unto the third and fourth generation of 
them that hate me, it is observable in the history of 
the persecutor of this innocent Princess, and of 
his descendants. A curse seemed upon them all, 
the worst of curses, — the curse of family dissen- 
sion. George the First waged a most unholy war 
with his heir, and died suddenly. George the 
Second exhibited the bitterest hatred of his eldest 
son. Prince Frederick. This Prince died before 
his father, afler a brief illness, on the 20th of 

* In the '' Biographie Uniyerselle ** it is stated that these 
letters have heen preserved, and are in the possession of the 
descendants of Count Konigsmark's younger sister. 


March, 1751, in the forty-ninth year of his age. 
Like both his predecessors, he was most remark- 
able for very little intellect and still less principle. 
The following cotemporary lines will convey to 
the reader a pretty accurate idea of the degree of 
respect in which the Prince and other members 
of his family were held by the people. 

'' Here lies Fred, 

Who was aiiTe and is dead. 

Had it been his father, 

I had much rather ; 

Had it been his brother. 

Still better than another ; 

Had it been his sister. 

No one would have missed her ; 

Had -it been the whole generation. 

Still better for the nation ; 

But since 'tis only Fred, 

Who was alive and is dead. 

There's no more to be said.'* 

The death of the son of Sophia Dorothea was 
as Rudden as that of his father. He was in his 
seventy-eighth year, and apparently in good health. 
One morning, after taking his chocolate, his yalet 
de chambre heard a noise in the chamber into 


which the King had gone, and entering found his 
master on the floor, having, in falling, cut the 
right side of his face against the edge of a bureau ; 
and after a gasp he expired. His mistress, Lady 
Yarmouth, was in attendance, but, as in the case 
of the Duchess of Kendal with George the First, 
she arrived too late. Neither father nor son de* 
rived any consolation from religion in their last 
moments, nor did they during their lives show 
that they felt for it any respect. 

A striking coincidence is observed in the stories 
of Sophia Dorothea, and in that of her great- 
granddaughter, Caroline Matilda, the sister of 
George the Third. This Princess was beautiful and 
intelligent, and while still very young was inarried 
to Christian VII., King of Denmark, a young man 
of weak mind, debauched habits, and unprepossess- 
ing appearance, who was completely in the hands 
of a little coterie of female relatives. To emanci- 
pate him firom such subjection, and secure the im- 
provement of Denmark, the young Que^i took a 
lively interest in the schemes of two of the ablest 
statesmen in the kingdom, the minister Struensee 
and Count Brandt, who, like herself, had the pros- 
perity of Denmark completely at heart. The 


poor idiot, however, she had married, was made to 
believe by the Dowager Queen, who hated her 
fairer and more powerful rival, that his consort 
was engaged in an intrigue with Struensee to 
force the King to abdicate, that they might have 
entire control over the government. The result 
was the secret arrest of all the parties accused, 
and subsequent execution of these able ministers. 
Caroline Matilda was saved by the timely inter- 
position of her brother the King of England, who 
sent three frigates to convey her and her at- 
tendants from a country where she had been so 
sadly misplaced. She took up her residence at 
Zelle, where she remained till her death, on the 
10th of May, 1775. A little work has lately been 
published at Copenhagen, founded on the story of 
this unfortunate victim of a state marriage, by 
Carl Bernard, which, under the title of ** Gamie 
Minder,'' and in an imaginative form, contains 
many interesting particulars of this h&pless de- 
scendant of Sophia Dorothea. 

The son of Prince Frederick next ascended the 
throne, with the title of George the Third. In 
moral qualities he would have weighed down a 
regiment of such light characters as his father. 


grandfather, great-grandfather, and great great- 
grandfather, and was deservedly as much loved 
and venerated by his subjects as his predecessors 
were detested and despised. Unhappily the curse 
of family dissension embittered his declining 
years ; but he was made miserable, not only by 
the hostility of his son, but by his profligacy — a 
family vice, from which, although George III. was 
free, it broke out in his heir with all the offensive 
characteristics that had disgraced his German 

This son succeeded his father, as George the 
Fourth, and although he had no heir apparent, 
like his predecessors, to hate, the affections 
of his only child, the Princess Charlotte, had 
been estranged from him long before her lamented 
and premature death, and his quarrel with his con- 
sort, Caroline of Brunswick, appeared a pretty 
powerful display of the family curse. 

But in this most bitter feud, the moral King^s 
evil, that had been the hereditary disease of this 
family, expended itself. We do not assert that 
it died for want of heirs male ; but certain it is, 
that when the crown of these kingdoms went out 
of the direct line, not only did such discreditable ' 

414 MEMOntS OF 

bickerings disappear entirely, but the posBesson of 
the throne became remarkable for virtues, suck 
as had hitherto been rare in the best of sovereigns* 
and consequently they enjoyed the affectionate 
respect of all classes of their subjects, to a degree 
never before witnessed in this country, or, we be- 
lieve, in any other. 

We must now return to the daughter of Sophia 
Dorothea, of whose domestic enjoyments we have 
already given the reader some insight She had 
a family of several children by the King of Prus- 
sia, who as he grew older became more tyrannical, 
till at last his despotism took the character of a 
frantic brutality. He was perfectly indifferent 
to the sufferings of the unfortunate mother of his 
consort, and heard of her death with such interest 
only as had its source in the property she was ex- 
pected to leave. Of this, or of the greater part, 
George the First deprived him, a proceeding 
which excited his bitterest hostility against the • 
English Court. This feeling did not improve at 
the death of George the First The brothers-in- 
law interchanged personalities; George the Second 
styling Frederick William his " brother the cor- 
» poral," and ^ arch-sandstrewer of the holy Roman 


empire ;" and the King of Prussia retorting on 
his brother of England by designating him as his 
" dear brother the comedian." 

The Margravine of Bayreuth, the granddaughter 
of Sophia Dorothea, has left in her memoirs a 
most disgusting picture of this monarch. Some 
of her revelations we have already quoted ; but 
abominable as his conduct appears in these, it is 
excusable in comparison with the atrocities he sub- 
sequently committed. Nor are we much more 
pleased with the conduct of the Queen of Prussia, 
which is far from being blameless. The strange 
whims the Kmg chose to display seem to savour 
of insanity, they were so absurdly, and sometimes 
so impiously irrational. 

" The King,** says his daughter, " preached a ser- 
mon to us every afternoon; and his valet-de-chambre 
gave out a hymn, in which we all joined. We 
were obliged to listen to the sermon, as though it 
were that of an apostle. . Sometimes my brother 
and I could not help laughing ; all the anathemsB 
of the church were instantly launched at us, and 
we were obliged to submit to them with a contrite 
and penitent look, which we found it difficult 
enough to assume. This excessive bigotry sug^ 


gested to the King still more extravagant ideas. 
He resolved to abdicate the crown in favour of 
my brother. ' He would reserve/ he said, • for 
himself, an income of ten thousand crowns a vear» 
and retire with the Queen and his daughters to 
Wusterhausen. There,' he added, • I will pray 
to God and attend to the cultivation of mv land, 
while my wife and mv daughters shall manage the 
house-keeping. You are a clever girl," said he to 
me, * I will give you the care of the linen, which 
you shall mend ; and of the soap. Frederica, who 
is covetous, shall have the custody of the provi- 
sions ; Charlotte shall go to market for victuals ; 
and my wife shall look after my young ones and 
the kitchen.* ** 

Happy would it have been for his family had 
he contented himself with talking in this idle 
fashion ; but as his sons and daughters grew up, he 
treated them in the most scandalous manner. 
His eldest son, a youth of eighteen, he was in the 
habit of caning on any trivial offence. This usage 
became so unbearable, that the Prince endeavoured 
to withdraw himself from his father's dominions. 
He was intercepted and brought before his father, 
who was with difBculty prevented from running 


him through the body. The King contented him- 
self with causing him to be closely confined in 
prison, but the youth's associates were ruthlessly 
brought to the block. 

Though he had not taken the Prince's life, he 
had the barbarity to tell the Queen and her 
daughters that he had. The first interview of this 
wretch with his family, after he had become ac- 
quainted with his son's offence, was signalised by 
one of the most savage acts of ferocity ever re- 
corded. " We all hastened to him," says his 
daughter, ^* to kiss his hand ; but no sooner did 
he set eyes on me, than, inflamed vnth rage and 
fury, he turned quite black in the face, his eyes 
glared, and he foamed at the mouth. ' Infamous 
blackgtcard /* said he to me, * darest thou appear 
in my presence ? Go keep thy scoundrel of a 
brother company.' As he thus spoke he seized 
me with one hand, and gave me several blows with 
his fist on the face; one of which upon the temple, 
was so violent, that it knocked me backwards, and 
I should have split my skull against a comer of 
the wainscot, if Madame de Sousfield had not 
caught hold of my dress. The King, unable to 
control himself, would have struck me again and 

VOL. I. E E 


trampled upon me, but was preyented bj tlie 
Queen, my brothers and sisters, and the other per- 
sons present. They surrounded me, and thus al- 
lowed time to Mesdames Kamecke and Sousfield 
to lift me up and place me in a chair in the em- 
brasure of a window which was close by. Seeing* 
that I got no better, they despatched one of my 
sisters for a glass of ^vater and a smelling-bottle, 
by means of which they somewhat revived me. 
I reproached them for the trouble they took with 
me, as death would have been infinitely preferable 
to life in the then state of things." 

It seems marvellous that so brutal a monster 
could have been tolerated in any society. Yet 
such was the son-in-law of Sophia Dorothea: and 
by such conduct he cowed his son into submission 
to his wishes, and they subsequently lived in greater 
harmony, till this despot's death, in .the year 1740, 
.when the Prince ascended the throne of Prussia. 
The Queen does not deserve to be considered 
either a wise or a good mother. Indeed, her 
daughter expressly says, ^ She loved her children 
only in as far as they were subservient to her am- 
bitious views." Nevertheless the yoimg King 
behaved very handsomely to his surviving parent^ 


on whom he conferred the title of Queen-Mother. 
She retired to a little villa in the capital called 
Mail Bijouy where she lived out the remainder of 
her days in an indolent happiness, the most de- 
lightfiil part of which must have been drawn from 
observing the increasing greatness of her son. 
She died on the 28th of June, 1757, deeply re- 
gretted by the King. 

The history of the celebrated grandson of 
Sophia Dorothea must be familiar to every reader. 
The life of Frederick the Great being almost as 
well known in this country as in his own.* At 
his death, the crown went from the direct line ; 
Frederick being succeeded by his nephew. Thus 
in both branches descending from Sophia Dorothea, 
each of which succeeded to royal dignities, these 
honours passed from the right line— the male 
branch in the fifth generation — the female in the 

Her descendants from her daughter have wit- 
nessed many changes, and have taken a prominent 

* The best life of this hero is that edited by the late 
Thomas Campbell, of which a second edition, in two Tolames, 
has just been published. We have frequently availed our- 
selves of the vast mass of information this work conveys. 


part in the great European drama which 
played out at Waterloo. The living representa- 
tives of the two royal houses descended from this 
unfortunate Princess, are the present King of 
Prussia, one of the wisest and ablest sovereigns of 
the German continent, and our beloved Queen 
Victoria, whose rule may Providence prolong for 
many years. 

The Electorate of Hanover had the honour of 
being raised to the dignity of a kingdom in the 
reign of George the Third, 1815— a distinction that 
even the politic and ambitious Bishop of Osnabriick 
perhaps did not dream of; and when the Crown of 
England descended to a female in default of heirs 
male^ the Salic law there having full force and 
authority, the Hanoverian throne was ascended 
by the next male descendant of Sophia Dorothea, 
who was George the Third's fifth son — the Duke 
of Cumberland. 

We have endeavoured to ascertain what de- 
gree of interest in the history of Sophia Dorothea^ 
was felt by her descendants. We have shown 
how much regard her children exhibited towards 
her. We are not aware that her grand-children 
testified any particuLir respect for her memory 


The royal family of Prussia were far from being 
well pleased with the arbitrary maimer in which 
George the First behaved in destroying his wife's 
will, and seizing her property on her decease, and 
this caused increased ill feeling between the two 
courts, which was aggravated by the indifference 
of George the Second. Frederick the Great had, 
it might be said, sufficient employment in dealing 
with his living enemies to prevent his bestowing 
much attention on the case of a dead relation ; but 
her other grandson, his namesake, Frederick 
Prince of Wales, had no such excuse. He was 
at once too selfish and too indolent to give him- 
self any trouble in such a matter ; nor does it ap- 
pear that any of his father^s or uncle's femily were 
more affectionately disposed. 

The first of her family who displayed any de- 
cided interest in her history, was her great-grand- 
daughter, the hapless Caroline Matilda, whose 
exile from the kingdom* of her libertine husband, 
being passed in the. neighbourhood of Sophia 
Dorothea's birth-place and prison, added to the 
extraordinary similarity in their fates, led her to 
devote a great deal of attention to what must 
have appeared to her an extremely interesting 


portion of her JRunilj history. Both George the 
Third and Queen Charlotte also testified a marked 
interest in the subject, and this was still more 
manifest in some of their children. George the 
Fourth visited his Hanoverian dominions, but we 
are not surprised at finding his inquiries into the 
story of a neglected wife very few. Though he 
seems to have eared little about Sophia Dorothea, 
he showed more respect for the family of which 
she was a member. At least this we are left to 
infer, from the Dedication to him by Sir Andrew 
Halliday,* of his '' Annals of the House of Han- 
over." This gentleman was domestic physician to 
the Duke of Clarence, and having formed the ac- 
quaintance of the Rev. George Giindell, A. M., 
Chaplain-General of the Hanoverian army, whilst 
his Royal Highness was in Germany, they under 
the Duke's auspices made researches, and col- 
lected documents illustrative of the history of 
the House of Brunswick-Liineburg, which the < 

* Sir Andrew Hallidaj, M.D., F. R.S.E., Fenowof the 
Royal Sodetj of Gottingen, Knight of the Order of Gnelph, 
&c. &c. There is ample evidence in his books, that he was a 
better courtier than he was an author. It is to be hoped he 
was a much better physician than either. 


Doctor edited and published in the year 1820, in 
a quarto volume. This work he followed six 
years subsequently by his " Annals of the House 
of Hanover,'* in two vols, octavo. In these pub- 
lications, Sir Andrew has contributed scarcely 
anything to the very scanty stock of information 
respecting the consort of George the First, that 
had been made public, and his statements relating 
to her look very like an attempt to conceal the 

The Duke of Cambridge was long a resident 
in Hanover, and from the exalted position he 
held there, possessed every opportunity for be- 
coming acquainted with the whole merits of the 
case : nor did he neglect them, and, as may readily 
l)e believed, from what is known of his Royal 
Highness s disposition, he felt a becoming indig- 
nation at the abominable tyranny of which that 
illustrious Princess became the victim. The Duke 
of Sussex felt the same manly sympathy, and left 
in the margin of works, since dispersed by the 
sale of the noble library he possessed, illustrative 
of the life of Sophia Dorothea, notes in his own 
hand-writing, indicative of the interest he took in 
her history. 


The Princesses were equally regardfiil of the 
claims upoa their attention ; but in the display of 
their sympathy the most remarkable was the 
Princess Elizabeth. Her Royal Highness was 
known to possess much literary talent, united with 
a taste for the arts ; and after her marriage with 
the Landgrave of Hesse Homburg, and when near 
the locality her unhappy relative had rendered 
famous, these accomplishments were devoted to 
writing a history of Sophia Dorothea, which she em- 
bellished with careful drawings. This interesting 
MS. is preserved in the palace at Hesse Homr- 
burg, and the portraits which form frontispieces 
to these volumes are. amongst its most valued 









(since kino of great BRITAIN,) 


VOL. I. F P 




(since kino of great BRITAIN,) 


[We here priat from an origiaal manuscript a specimen of 
the numerous accounts circulated in Germany of the quarrel 
between Sophia Dorothea and her husband. It assumes to be 
a translation of a statement written by the Crown Prince of 
Hanover (George I.) to his father-in-law the Duke of Zelle, 
of his daughter's delinquencies with Count Konissmark, and 
improper conduct as a wife in other respects, witn copies of 
letters said to have been written by her to the Count. £z- 
parte as all this is, we consider the case made out so plausibly, 
far from being as favourable to the husband as he desired. It 
will be seen that the letters have neither names nor dates, nor 
is there any way of authenticating the MS., which consists of 
thirty-two closely written quarto pages in the hand-writing 
common at the beginning of the seventeenth century, and was 
found bound up with a printed poem of twenty-two quarto 
pages with the following title, " The Atheist, a IPhilosophical 
Poem, representing and confuting the Arguments brought in 
favour of their Tenets. Jovifi omnia Plena. FirgiL By Wil- 
liam Dawson. London: printed for the author, 1723." 
Although the statement contains much that is totally false, and 
cannot be produced as evidence against the Princess, some of 
its details are so curious and characteristic as £o render it an 
interesting illustration of her history.] 

My Lord, 
Notwithstanding the nearness in blood to your illus- 
trious pei-son, the many weighty aflTairs you have now 

p p 2 


under your Iiaud^ and tho constant applications you have 
for the welfare of your noble family, I am sure you 
cannot but be sensible of the uneasiness I am under 
when I write to you, that would move the most obdurate 
to pity. 

'Tis, therefore, I am persuaded, the greatness of your 
soul minds nothiog more than to comfort tho afflicted, 
and support those who are oppressed. This emboldens 
me to give you the trouble of reading on account of some 
undeccncies, and violences I have suffered of late, whicii 
I believe will move your compassion; for I have not 
drawn them upon myself by any ill conduct — you yourself, 
sir, shall judge of it, and, if you please, remedy iL 

You know, sir, how I married into your most illustrious 
house, and took to my bed. Madam , your daugh- 
ter, whose beauty and many noble endowments of mind 
rendered her worthy of the greatest monareh ; and I must 
further own to you that in the beginning of our union her 
ladyship paid me all the devoira to which marriage engages 
those who know the obligations of it ; and that I thought 
myself beloved by her with all the faithfulness imaginable. 
I returned her esteem and caresses with the affection 
and tenderness of a husband ; and I dare persuade my* 
sell' that my beautiful spouse had no cause to complain 
of my coldness, so that we lived happy at that time ;. and 
heaven, who beheld our harmony, showed that it was 
approved of, by blessing our marriage, for we had in 
the first years two children ; and I did not doubt but that 
my spouse, seeing that I made her mother of offspring, 
that promised all that could be expected firom them, 
would straighten those bonds closer which engaged her 
to me, but alas, I was strangely mistaken, for in a few 


years I began to perceive that my spouse was tired wlien 
we were by ourselves ; and that she had no longer that 
air, and endearing aspect wliich I had usually beheld in 
her. She soon added disdain to her ill-humour, and I 
found myself treated in a haughty manner which touched 
me to the soul. 

As my conduct has ever been very regular, and as I 
never had anything to reproach myself with, I imagined 
I should be able to regain my spouse's affections, not 
being in the least inclined to believe that she could ever 
give in to so much indifference, as to let another share 
that bed which was my exclusive right and property. I 
imagined that this coldness would soon be over, and that 
by a due care and strict penetration, I should be able to 
triumph over any injustice that should be attempted. 
But I found, to my misfortune, that I was mistaken ; and 
I was but too well convinced of this, by an adventure 
which pierced my heart, whereof I am constrained to give* 
you, sir, a particular relation. 

You know, sir, that it is a custom among persons of 
quality, to give one another a new year's gift,^on new 
year's day; I thought I should oblige my lady by making 
her a present at that time. I chose to that end, one of 
the finest and largest jewels I had, which, with a com- 
pliment suitable to the occasion, T caused to be pre- 
sented to her. But the lady, your daughter, regarded it 
with a discontented air, and told me in a -haughty manner, 
that I might have spared that cost, since she had so 
many of such trifles by her already. And to add an 
affront to her disdain, that very day she gave away that fine 
present to a young nobleman, who might have had merit 
enough in him to deserve it, had he not made ill use of 
those generous entertainments I gave him in my family. 


' But as, my lord, it was some time before I knew of this 
a£front, which touched me so nearly, yet I must confess 
to yon that to ease myself I was willing to impart my 
uneasiness to some person I could confide in. To that 
end, I unhappily took for my confidant the perfidious 
nobleman just mentioned, who (as I have since reason 
to believe) was the cause of my misfortunes, as I will 
tell you in a moment, for when he perceived that I 
had mode him master of ail my secrets,, he at first seemed 
to sympathise with me as a finend, and when I saw liim 
thus concerned, I asked his advice what to do on that 
occasion. He answered, — '' Sir, you ore prudent ; but hod 
I a wife that used me thus, I could hardly forgive her ; 
and I should begin, by refusing her all the endearments 
she might expect from me." 

This was the pernicious advice this deceiver gave me ; 
who some days after played me the basest, most impudent^ 
and unworthy trick that was ever put upon a person of 
my rank and quality, as I concealed nothing firom him,- 
and of all the retinue about me in him I confided most, 
yet I perceived he had gained so much esteem with 
my spouse as to wear the jewel I gave her, even before 
my face. 

You must, my lord, acknowledge a man to be of an 
uncommon temper to support himself under all this; 
and therefore, I presumed, you would not blame me if I 
kept a very watchful eye upon the conduct of Madam 

, your daughter; not but that I had the command 

of my temper so far as to conceal my resentments firom 
my false confidant. 

At first I was resolved to take no notice of this indis 
cretion ; but my passion become too violent to hinder me 


from going to her apartments, where, with looks that 
bespoke something of justice in my demand, I asked her 
for the jewel I had flung away upon her as a new years 
gift. The shock she was under, to hear me ask it in 
such terms, raised in her face such arguments of guilt, 
that she had not power to make any other reply, than 
that it might be lost for what she knew. 

'' This loss," said I to her, " inspires me with strange 
thoughts ; and I fear you have made an ill use of it." — 
** How, sir," answered she, *' do you question my fidelity ?" 
— " Yes," said I, sincerely, " I do question it, and shall be 
very much persuaded, unless this jewel be found, that 
you have given it to some gallant."—" To what gallant ?" 
replied she, in a transport ; *' no man of honour can accuse 
me of such a crime." 

" You have spoken the truth," added I, " since no man 
of honour will expose himself to so much suspicion." 
This reply, which anger drew suddenly from my mouth, 
adding to my passion, made me go on thus : " You take 
too much upon you, madam, in answering me with so 
much insolence. But let me tell you, if ever you speak 
to me again in this manner, it will, perhaps, make me 
do violence to my nature, in boxing your ears, and 
teach you to keep within the bounds of respect." 

Fear of drawing some disgrace -upon herself made her 
absolutely silent, but she was not without discovering some 
sort of emotion, which was an uneasiness to her spirits, 
so that I thought convenient to leave her to herself for 
that time. 

But, my lord, it is now time I should acquaint you 
with the adventure which made me first truly sensible of 
the greatness of my misfortunes. Some days after the 


above discourse, a faithful domestic of mine happened to 
find nt the door of my wife's closet, a letter written in 
French, directed to the young lord. He brought it im- 
mediately to me. But, O my Gk>d ! what became of me, 
when I found it. was a billet-doux, written by madam 
your daughter, to the aforesaid person of quality, who 
expressed herself in the following words : — 

To tfie mont accomplinhed and noble lord^ the Lord^^. 

My Lord, 
It seems difficult for me to resist you any longer. Your 
love triumphs over mine, I am vanquished, and cannot 
longer be otherwise than yours. I have exposed my- 
self to a thousand dangers, in receiving your letters; and 
I am undone, unless you prove prudent and faithftd. 
iTake care of preserving what you have written to me, 
and be grateful for the victory you have obtained. 
Should you henceforward be capable of forsaking me, 
you were not only the most cruel, but likewise the basest 
of mankind. It is easy to deceive our sex. But the 
easier it is, the more shame there is in doing it Hi* 
therto nothing has past between us, that we have cause 
to repent ; tell me, then, sincerely, (ah ! irresistible fate, 
if ever there should,) whether you will abandon me to the 
just resentments of those who have a right to reproach 
me for my indiscretion ; and tell it me,' before the fire 
that consumes me be grown more violent, and before 
we proceed further in an afiair that would prove fatal to 
us. We must propose an end in all things, which we 
ought never to swerve from ; and whereas those of my sex 
have but little foresight, I abandon myself to yoora. 


nnd believe you will have enough for us both. Be care- 
ful of yourself and me. I am afraid I shall give myself 
up to you for ever; and I declare to you, that if you accept 
me on the conditions I propose, I never shall be capable 
of conceiving the design of retracting. Farewell. 

As there was no name at the bottom of this letter, the 
light I had formed of this amoiu: did not appear conspicuous 
enough to make me as yet fix it upon my wife. But how- 
ever, I remained speechless for some time, and was as much 
struck by it as if thunder had fallen at my feet. How 
unfortunate am I, (said I to myself, being somewhat re- 
covered from my surprise,) to have confided in a faithless 
creature that betrays me so basely ! Having composed 
myself a little, and being resolved to know the utmost ex- 
tent of my misfortune, I privately searched her cabinet, 
wherein I found three other letters addressed to the said 
young lord, and which I beseech you, sir, to read, the 
first of which letters being as foUoweth. 

To the Noble Lord the Lord . 

Mv Lord, 
I should write oftener to you, my lord, if the opportu- 
nities of doing it were more frequent. I can no longer 
live contented, but with you ; all my happiness centres in 
you, and I love you more than myself. You can no 
longer be ignorant of my tenderness towards you ; you 
have often beheld my sufferings, of which my sighs have 
been undeniable proofs. Be not surprised at my disco- 
vering my sentiments to you. You have charmed me 
more than all mankind besides, so that I am the most 
passionate of all women. Hitherto I looked upon love as 


A chimeruy and 'tis yoa that *haTe, submitted me to his 
cmpiro. Do not wonder at my having lived so long in 
this ignorance ; but your eyes, whose darts are so pierc- 
ing, have penetrated into my very soul. I am hencefor- 
ward only yours, and am no longer my own. I call you 
day and night, — I expect you, — I long for you, — I only 
tliink on you; and your idea is sole possessor of my 
mind. I have promised you all, for you only have gained 
an absolute power over me. Consider, then, what yoa 
intend to do, and whether it be not better to save one who 
adores you, than to kill her who only lives for you. I 
expecc by your answer the entire decision of my fate. 
Let the strokes of your writing be as piercing as those of 
your eyes. If they are, I shall live the happiest and most 
contented of womankind ; otherwise your denial will kill 
with grief. 


The second runs thus, — 

My Lord, 
I wish you >dl the happiness and prosperity imaginable 
for the kindness you have done me. Your letter has 
been well and faithfully delivered, — the seal unaltered; 
and you may rest contented as to that I can assnre yoa 
that I have often interrupted the reading of it to kiss it ; 
not that it is too favourable for me, but because that 
whatever comes from you is extremely dear to me. Yoa 
ironically desire that we should cease loving one another ; 
and to justify your desire of extinguishing the fire which 
has kindled itself in your heart, you allege the example 
of several who have been deceived. But you do it with 


80 much eloquence^ that I am at a loss to know which of 
the two were easier, — to forget, or to cease admiring your 
wit. Teach me, if you can, the secret of driving you out 
of my heart, at the same moment that I discover so many 
new charms; — had you been so resolved to lessen my 
passion, you should not have written with so much wit as 
you have done. This is called kindUng the fire that one 
would extinguish. I have already often told you that I 
am so entirely yours, that it is impossible for me ever to 
be otherwise. Pity me, then, instead of disputing it, and 
let your sentiments be conformable to mine. If you 
punish her that loves you, how would you use those that 
injure you ? Proceed without despair, and do me the 
favour to let me know that I am dear to you, and that 
you will no longer be cruel. 

Tours, &o. 

This letter, which I found to be of the same kind as 
the preceding, convinced me that the intrigue was fixed. 
I found that the intelligence was reciprocal, and that 
madam, my spouse, and her gallant, were in a fair way ; 
but, to be better satisfied, I opened the third letter, which 
was in the following terms. 

To the Accomplished Lord . 

My Lord, 
The joy I have received by your letter is too great to 
be expressed. It is true, that the only thing that could 
any way diminish it, should be the doubt you express of 
my not loving you. Ton owe me a reparation foir that 
injury ; since I can protest to you, that though there are 
several persons who cherish you, their flame is not com* 


parable to mine. Alter your opinion, then, I beseech 
you, and tell me no more that I take a great deal of pains 
in vain. If you continue in this strain, I can assure yon 
that you will kill at once the most faithful of lovers, and 
the most sincere of all your friends. Tour rigors will 
be much more capable of giving me death than the swords 
of my greatest enemies. I desire but one thing more of 
you, which is, to have some sensibility and acknow« 
lodgement for the tenderness I have for yon. Tell me 
only, I love you, and by that declaration, which will only 
cost you three words, you will moke me the happiest 
woman living. I always wear your ring, and kiss it in-* 
cessautly. — Farewell. 

The reading of these three letters was to me like so 
many darts, which pierced my heart. They informed me 
— or at least I so persuaded myself — that my lady grew 
weary of me, that I was become indifferent to her, and 
that somebody had stolen her affections from me. As I 
loved my spouse infinitely, I could not reflect on this loss 
without mortal grief; and in the design I formed of re- 
gaining her, I resolved to let her know cunningly that I 
was not ignorant of her intrigues. 

In order to which, I expected some opportimity should 
offer itse^ ; but it happened otherwise. She had been 
so vigilant as to know my measures, and was resolv|^ to 
complain first, and that in the most provoking manner* 
by endeavouring to turn the tables upon a husband who 
hnd too great a regard for her charms than to let another 
take her place, and now a favourable juncture occuired, 
though it cost her dear. And thus it happened, — ^whicb, 
that I may not vary from matters of fact, I take in her own 


words, as she related to a faithful niece of mine^ who told 
it me verbatim afterwards. * 

" * And now, my dear niece,' said she, * to satisfy you 
further of the distance between me and my husband, you 
must know that my brother-in-law, and some other rela- 
tions, came to visit us about that time, whom we enter- 
tained very splendidly ; but as I could not sit altogether 
easy under my husband's suspicions, he perceived that 
affiction had overwhelmed me ; and one day, as we sat 
at table, said to me, * Permit me, dear sister, to ask the 
reason of your appearing so sad ? I believe, however, 
that you are very glad to see us ; and I take too great an 
interest in what concerns you, not to desire to know what 
afflicts you.' 

" ' I beg your pai'don, dear brother,' answered I ; * if I 
am sad at a time when I ought to be so joyful, having so 
just a cause for it, as the honour of seeing you. But I 
must needs have a very great cause of grief, not to be 
able to overcome it in your presence.* My husband, who, 
I thought, feared the sequel of this discourse, would in- 
terrupt it, and thinking to do it effectually, told my 
brother, ' it is so usual a thing for my wife to afiUct herself 
at the least trifle, that I am already altogether used to it ; 
so that, without minding it, we will, if you believe me, 
continue our mirth, and so much the worse for her, if 


she will not make one.' 

"•And these words he spoke with a disdainful air, which 
touched me so sensibly, that, unfortunately for me, it 
obliged me to make him tliis answer, — * Your suspicions 
are the only cause of my affliction; it is your amours 
with a certain coquet that disgraces us both, and I can 


no longer endure that such an inconsiderable creatnro 
should so rob me of the tenderness you owe me/ 

" My husband answered me by a blow on the ear. 
' This,' said ho, ' is the coin in which I was resolved to 
pay the first liberty you should take in making me those 
kind of reproaches.* That cruel blow, which stunned 
mo, and bruised all my nose^ having drawn a great deal 
of blood, obliged me to rise firom table. I hod so much 
power over myself as noc to answer, for fear of redoubling 
my disgrace. I ran to my closet, where the grief, spite, 
and shame, of being used thus before persons of my 
<[uality, opened so large a flood to my tears, that I was 
covered all over witli them. All the company were dis- 
turbed by it, and my brother, who was the cause (though 
innocently) of that alfront, was not to be comforted. 

" He came to me, to tell me, that he thought himself 
very unhappy to have contributed to such an outrage. 
He protested to me that he was mortaUy grieved at it; 
and after having begged my pardon, he went back to my 
husband, whom he found not cool yet ; and therefore, not 
to exasperate him the more, he only contented himself 
with saying these few words, — ' Ah, my brother, this is 
too much.' — * Yes/ replied he, ' but the occasion re- 
quired it.' 

'' Thus matters stood a little, till he judged my bus- 
band capable of advice, when he told him plainly, that 
he was to blame ; that those violences were unbecoming 
his character; and that a young lady, like me, was not to 
be used so unworthily. He added, that having partly 
been the cause of that affront, he was not to be comforted 
for it ; and that he had been able to foresee that accident. 


In fine, be declared to him, that he was resolved to retiro 
the next day ; and even without taking leave of him, 
unless he mode me reparation that very day for the affront 
he had done me. 

" ' Wliat you desire of me is so just/ answered my 
husband, * that if you desire it, it shall be done in- 
stantly.' — * The sooner the better,' said my brother ; * but 
suffer me first to give your lady notice of it, and to dis- 
pose her to receive you.' 

" My husband consented to all : and my brother being 
come to my closet, found me in an inconceivable sadness, 
and said to me, in order to diminish it, * Dear sister, you 
will make yourself ill, if you abandon yourself thus to 
your grief; and you might soon offend God, in suffering 
it to continue so long. Your husband is coming to see 
you : he is very sorry for the injury his passion has made 
him inflict, and will excuse himself to you for it. Receive 
him favourably, and be careful not to hinder your recon- 
ciliation by vexing him any farther. 

" My brother had hardly spoken thus, when my hus- 
band came into my closet, and accosted me with a pleas- 
ing countenance, telling me, with that agreeableness 
which is usual to him, and which he can assume whenever 
he pleases ; * Well, madam, do you still preserve any in- 
dignation against a passionate husband, who does but too 
well deserve it ? And will you not promise me to forget 
what is passed, in favour of the acknowledgments I have 
already made ?' 

" I do no longer remember anything," said I ; '' and 
the grief you express for that which I have received, is 
too obliging not to make me lose the remembrance of 
it. If I am not yet altogether satisfied with both, it is 


only because my dear brother and sister have been wit- 
nesscs of our difference. They have cause to complain 
of tlic manner of their reception, and must needs depart 
from home dissatisfied with having seen us in such a dis- 

" * Fear notliing on that point,' soid my sister, * we are 
so well pleased with what we see at present, that we con- 
gratulate you upon it with all our hearts.* — ^*That is 
very kind,' said I ; * and since you are no longer con- 
cerned, I am willing to forget oil.' — ' And for my part/ 
said my husband, embracing me, ' I in my turn will 
forget all, except the remembering that you are the best 
and most generous woman in the world ; and I wish that 
my cheek may blot out the bnital blow of my hand/ 

" And here, after some other discourse of tenderness 
and reconciliation, seemingly to the satisfaction of all the 
company, he took leave of me and left me to myself. 

'V Night being come, and supper served, I was sent for 
to come to table : but being engaged in writing some 
letters to be sent by an extraordinary post that night, I 
ordered one of my gentlewomen to tell them that I begged 
thom to excuse me for not eating with them that night ; 
that I was obliged, in haste, to send several letters, which 
I could not defer till another time; they supped thus 
without me, and I caused something to be brought to me 
which I did eat in haste in my closet. 

" My husband, perhaps, fearing I intended to write 
something about our differences, being desirous to find 
it out, or soon to hinder it, if it were possible, came 
to me that very night. I was surprised to see him. My 
letters were already dispatched — I was just going into 
bed, when he came in ; and one of my women having 


opened the door to him — * I come/ said he, * with a 
gallant air, to look for a refuge in this closet, knowing no 
place where I could be with more safety or pleasure.' — 
* Sir,* said I, * you have no cause to fear, you are master 
everywhere. But if you will give me leave to dispose of 
my own apartment, you must sutfer me to enjoy that 
repose which 1 stand in need of, and which these hours 
allow to all the world.' 

*' * Will you turn away,' said he, * your husband, who 
is alone, and who expected to pass with you the most 
agreeable night he ever had?' — * You have of late made me 
sensible,' said I, ' that both my bed and person are 
things very indififerent to you ; and I would not have you 
constrain yourself so far as to persuade me that your 
mind is altered.* — * However,' said he, ' it is not very 
generous to be cruel in your own apartment, and to repulse 
a man who cherishes and honours you.' — * You flatter me, 
sir,' said I, ' and I have such convincing proo& of it, 
that if you press me never so little, I will speak more 
plainly to you.' — * You will oblige me,' answered he, ' and 
I shall be glad to know the reasons which hinder you 
from allowing me the rights I ought to possess.' — ' It is 
your indifference towards me, and the passion you have 
for another,' replied I, ' which persuades me that I owe 
this visit to policy, and which obliges, me humbly to 
entreat you to leave me; for you can no longer give 
me a heai-t, in which I placed all the happiness of my 
life.' — 'And who has taken it from you?' said my 
husband, with some transport. — 'You know it better than 
I,' said I ; ' and, after what is passed. I dare no more 
name the person I complain of.' 

" * For heaven's sake, madam,' said he, * do no longer 
VOL. I. G G 


oppose the curiosity I have of knowing the person who 
has robbed you of a thing, which you look upon as being 
of some value.' — * You ore not ignorant of it,* answered 
I ; ' but instead of obliging me to pronounce on odious 
name, rather deliver up to me the person that owns it. 
I ought to punish her according to her deserts ; and if 
you refuse that sacrifice to me, 1 shall believe that when 
you tell me that you love me, you add derision to 
treachery.' — ' Now I understand. you, madam,* replied he, 
' I know who you moan ; but I protest to you that you 
wrong that innocent maid, and that she is not so guilty 
as you imagine.' 

*' * What means this letter then ?' said I, which, being 
in French, I read in the following words : — 

'* To Mademoiselle , the Beautiful Charmer 

of my Soul. 

" My Life and Soul,— 
*' Is it possible for me to live, and not be always con- 
templating the many charms I found in you the other 
night ? And can you forget all my assiduities, and the 
vehement passion I have for you ? Oh, no, lovely fair 
one, I am inspired to believe you will comply the 
felicity of a wretch who has hitherto had nothing hat 
visionary pleasures. I conjure you, therefore, to let me 
see you this night, when one who loves you as his soul, 
will think himself the happiest man living to expire in 
your arms." 

" And does not this letter, my lord, equally prove my 
misfortune, your infidelity, and the crime of that coquet ?' 


— ' These are great words, madam/ replied he ; * but 
there is a miscake, and you frighten yourself upon ap- 
pearances.' — ' Upon appearances,' said I, with some heat: 
* know, sir, that no greater inj ury can he done to me ; 
and that nothing but the blood of her I complain of can 
be capable of giving me satisfaction.' 

" I then pulled out of my pocket another letter which 
troubled me, and having read it aloud, — ' Well, sir,' said 
I, ' will you accuse mo of wanting just reasons to punish 
this false one ? And will you not own, at least, that 
I am better informed of your concerns than you de- 
sired ?' 

*' My husband smiled at this reproach, and answered me 
with an air, which appeared pretty sincere to me, * Is 
this all then, madam ? Certainly you wrong yourself, 
in mistaking a trifle for a thing of moment. This letter, 
which alarms you, is only a piece of wit ; and you might 
certainly be persuaded, that I should have been more care- 
ful of it, had I looked upon it as a thing whereof the ex- 
pression had been dictated by the heart, or one in which I 
liad taken a solid pleasure. But this is the real nature of 
the business. You know that Mademoiselle speaks and 
writes very good French. I was willing to exercise my- 
self, and her also, to have some kind of converse with her • 
in that language ; and whereas, nothing is so proper to 
write to young persons of her sex, as gallantry, I ac- 
quainted her that Monsieur, our nephew, loved her, and 
desired her to answer him, as if she approved his passion^ 
and had been proud of it ; the poor lady has had that 
complaisance, and has written to me partly as you trans- 
lute it ; having made me her confidant.' 

*' ' However,' said I, ' this communication is very sua- 

o o 2 


picious; I have seen several letters that alarmed me; 
and cannot understand the jest of a yonng maid writ- 
inc^ in such terms to her master and my husband. So, sir, 
plead her cause no longer, I beseech you, but deliver her 
up to me for my revenge.' 

" * I should offend justice,' said he, * should I not pro- 
tect innocence. This poor lady has only failed in appear- 
ance, in obe}ing me effectively. Therefore, madam, 
calm yourself ; for since those sort of things are displeas- 
ing to you, I will renounce them absolutely.* — * You will 
oblige me/ said I ; and seeing that I could obtain no 
more from him, I told him that it was very late, and that 
tlie number of my dispatches had wearied me, and there- 
fore conjured him, by his absence, to allow me some rest. 

*' * When I had the felicity of being united to your 
lordship,' said J, ' by the sacred knot of marriage, I ao- 
kuowledged you as my master, and engaged myself to obey 
you. But sir,' continued I, weeping, * would you always 
give me a divided heart ? And can you without regret 
prefer a rival, who does not love yon so much as I do, 
and who may, without wronging herself, yield to me in 
eventhing else ?' 

" * I tell you, madam,' added he, * that your suspicions 
magnify objects : and that the phantasm that troubles 
you, is the effect of a deceived imagination. But let us 
make peacd.' We were entirely reconciled. He pro- 
tested to me a thousand times, that this commerce of 
letters was innocent; that Mademoiselle was virtuous; 
and that he would rather die, than violate the fidelity 
be had sworn to me. 

'' I answered, as I tliought, to those kind and satisfying 
expressions. I told him that I was very well satisfied ; 


and we rose the next morning, at least on my part, with 
a firm resolution of living for the future in a perfect in- 

" I relished, for some days, the pleasure of being re- 
conciled to what one loves ; but that pleasure was not 
lasting. The demon who delights in ruining the best 
union, came to trouble oura ; and did it in a manner 
that has been too pubUc I am afraid." 

Thus, sir, you may perceive that I deal fairly with 
your lordship ; but you will more especially see that 
these are all forgeries of your daughter, proceeding from 
her own guilt, and caused by her having repeated so many 
falsities, for it is plain that the young lady she there 
pretends to say was my mistress, had not been in the 
family for six months before the time of her forging the 
letter your unhappy daughter insinuates I wrote to her, 

nay, Madame the B s of can witness for her, 

who is her aunt, that she was all the time this plan was 
forming, at one of your country seats, fifteen leagues 
from the capital of these territories, and where I never 
was but once, and that some years since. 

But there will need no further apology for my own 
conduct in this affair, for after having had children by 
madam your daughter, who I loved entirely, your lord- 
ship will embrace my cause when I tell you what my own 
eyes were witness to, which, if well weighed, will strike 
with amazement the inquisitive world. And thus it was. 

There was an appointment made in my family to go 

and spend the summer at the pleasant town of H n, 

to which I agreed, and went thither with my spouse and 
a splendid retinue, where I met with a great concourse 


of persons of distinction, the most eminent of whom I 
invited one day to a costly entertainment ; but I had 
very great reason to repent of this treat, not so much 
for the profuscness of it, but the offironc my spouse put 
upon me in the presence of them oil. As she was very 
richly dressed, (perhaps with more gaiety than usually 
becomes a mother of children,) I chanced to lay my 
hand on her bosom, for which she gave such a disdain- 
ful look, accompanied with such haughty expressions, 
that tlie company could not but observe, by my looks, 
my resentment was in proportion to the affront. 

But this is a trivial matter ; I shall not conceal the 
most important from you; — I had not shared abovo 
half the summer diversion at this place, when business 
called me home. It was my desire the whole family 
should also depart; but, madam your daughter was 
pleased to take the freedom to stay there some time after 
me. She knew that it would displease me. And, indeed, 
she behaved herself in so high a manner, that I was 
pitied by all those who know the sequel of our differ- 

However, the summer having almost expired, after seve* 
ral orders for her to return home, she sent mo answers 
in such a strain, that they were the most provoking that 
could come from, a wife. One was, that she was not so 
indiscreet, but she could tell when her affairs required 
her from her country seat. A second, that she knew time 
was flitting, and that she was not so bad a register, but 
that she could tell how long the season would permit her 
to stay; with other like undutiful -expressions not fitting 
for a husband to bear. 

Upon this, I sent my positive commands for hor to 


return in a fixed time, and that I might not slight some 
private intelligence from one who was always near her, 
I went incognito to observe her behaviour; and here 
with grief, horror, and shame, my lord, I come to draw 
the fatal scene ! Be it known to you, therefore, that 
having intelligence that she had admitted into her cham- 
ber a stranger, I had no longer patience, but, fired with 
resentment, I took two of my domestics, and bursting 
open the door, rushed in upon her, when I found them 
sitting together, with a familiarity no way allowable to 
any but husband and wife. 

Patience immediately took flight and abandoned me 
to the most aggravated passion a man could bear, to act 
as rage and &ry prompted me ; so that, having a pistol 
in my hand, I fired it at the author of my misfortunes, 
just as he was leaping into a moat which surrounded 
the house. 

Whether or not the pistol did any execution I cannot 
OS yet tell ; but true it is, the ravisher has never been 
heard of since. 

And now, my lord, does not this fatal intrigue merit 
the highest resentment ? Certainly you will not blame 
me, that, after this action, I should have given orders 
tliat your daughter should be confined to her chamber, 
with a maid or two, and that all -my servants should 
strictly watch her apartments till I knew your lordship'd 

But, my lord, my spouse having now time to recrimi- 
nate her false conduct, and finding herself so narrowly 
observed, that her spies were uneasy about her, wrote to 
me the following letter. 


."Sir, ■ . 

'* I am so mueh troubled by tbe mnnv observers 
about my chamber door day and night, that I cannot 
8utficieDtly express to you the anguish it puts me in : the 
noise they make frightens me, and my captivity becomes 
every moment more insupportable. Permit me, sir, to 
entreat you to behave yourself towards me in a manner 
thai may be approved of as a tenderness to my sex ; and 
give me leave to tell you, that there is no need of placing 
»o many spies about a woman wlio ]ias noiliing but her 
tears and innocence to oppose to them,— I say particularly 
my innocence, because that, atlter having examined my- 
self well, and called to mind my conduct, and my whole 
life, I can find nothing in either wherein I could have 
intended to offend my husband, tlierefore I conjure you 
by all that is good, and by that tenderness yon formerly 
bad for me, to restore me to my liberty. If I am guilty, 
it is fit I should be punished ; but if I am innocent, let 
me enjoy the privileges due to a wife. I desire a fiiir 
hearing, and that I may be allowed to use those means 
that may tend to my justification. I am so strangely 
disturbed by the noise of those you have set over me, 
that ever since they have changed my closet into a 
prison, I have not been able to take any rest. Be pleased 
to order them to retire ; for if you will needs have me 
observed, three or four will be as effectual as so many. 
I am in a place where you cLre absolute master, and you 
have no cause to fear an escape, where you command so 

" I am 
Your disconsolate Wife, 
And your most humble and obedient Servant.'* 


Tliis letter was delivered to me as I was at table. 
When I opened it at first sight, and having read it, 
ordered all should be dismissed but three or four, and 
those to make as little disturbance as possible. The 
order was immediately put in execution, and as she was 
rejoicing at the good effect her letter had produced, she 
received the following answer I writ to her. 

" Madam, 

'* I am much surprised at your seeming to bo ignorant 

of the cause of your confinement ; therefore you accuse 

me of injustice, and insinuate that I persecute innocence 

in your person. However, it is not possible for you to 

liave so soon forgotten the affront at H a, when I 

ordered you to follow me, and ordered it in such a 
manner as showed I would be obeyed. Notwithstanding 
which, you not only disobeyed me, but remained there 
several weeks, where you spent an excessive deal of 
money, without considering that our estate and effects 
being already but too much drained, there was nothing 
to justify such profusion. I have besides another subject 
of complaint, to which you cannot plead ignorance. Re- 
member, then, the aifront which you put upon me before 
all my friends the day of the last feast. You appeared 
there in an extraordinary pomp and magnificence, and 
were most gloriously attired, but showed your neck 
with as much affectation as the most public coquet could 
do. But I was extremely surprised at your haughty 
rebuke. You behaved yourself towards me as if I had 
been a stranger to you ; and you declared before all these 
gentlemen that in a little time you would not allow me 
any of those favours which marriage authorises, and 


which you had no right to refuse me. Ileflect, moreover, 
upon your adventures since your return, and you will bo 
obliged to acknowledge that my behaviour towards yon is 
very just, particularly since my discovery of that most 
abominable amour which must for ever stop your moutb, 
and make you tliink it no hardship if I should find it 
an excuse for a divorce. Tliis is the reason that induced 
me to confine your person, as well to Iiinder your amours 
as to satisfy my just revenge. Therefore if you will 
follow my advice, resolve to be calm, and to conform 
yourself to the circumstances you are in, which if you 
do, perhaps an expedient may be found out, (after having 
first writ to vour father,) wherebv vou shidl noc onlv be 
set at liberty, but besides, possess a pension, fit to main- 
tain one of your rank. I expect your last resolution^ and 
am your abused husband. Sec" 

After the reading of this surprising letter, I was told 
that she flung herself on the bed and remained for somo 
time more dead than alive, not knowing what to resolve 
upon. She saw herself in the hands of an angry husband, 
who had an absolute power over her, and had nobody to 
advise or comfort her. Nevertheless something was to 
be resolved upon, and a positive answer to be given ; and 
believing I expected it with impatience, she sent one qf 
her maids to me to tell me that she neither was in a con- 
dition nor had the will to resist me ; that she submitted 
to all, excepting the consenting to a divorce ; that it was 
a case of conscience which ought not to be decided so 
lightly. That if, however, I was so much bent upon it, 
that nothing could prevail to the contrary, I might soon 


in that caso receive satisfaction, since she found herself 
very much inclined to refuse me nothing. 

This maid, who loved her, performed her errand faith- 
fully ; and I was so extremely pleased with her message, 
that I bid her hasten to tell her, that she could not pitch 
upon anything more useful to her than complaisance. 
And that in order to begin my acknowledgment of it, I 
was going to put her more at liberty. ** She may walk in 
the gardens," 1 added, " and as to the scruple she ex- 
presses about a divorce, tell her she need not have any, 
and that I take all the ill she might fear upon myself. 
Above all, advise her not to write anything to her re- 
lations about it, till 1 have received an answer from the 
most indulgent lord her father, but tell her to behave 
herself so as not to give me cause to repent the indul- 
gence I design her." 

She had not my promise long to wait for ; that very 
evening she went out, and took the benefit of the air ; 
and since that time has had more liberty than any one 
(sorry for the crimes she stands charged with) could 

And in this statement, my dear lord and father, you 
have read the injuries I have received from one whom 
my bosom has nursed with the most cherishing fidelity 
and tenderness. . . . Would to heaven I could for ever 
obliterate the rememtrance of those unhappy transgres- 
sions out of my mind, provided a sincere contrition and 
repentance might accompany her serious consideration of 
the heinousness of them. 

Sure I am, that for the sake of my dear children, I 
should have some regard for the womb that bare them. 
And with the hke confidence do I believe your paternal 

452 SOME ACCOUNT, &C, - ^ ^ " . 

care for her spiritoal welfare, will recommend to her with 
all the force and energy of words, the authoritr of a 
parent has a right to inculcate, with such wholesome 
admonitions as may put her upon a speedy and strict 
examination of her misconduct, as may lind a way for 
some seeming compensadon. 

And now, my lord, having tired your lordship with 
what can in no way be grateful to a virtuous mind, it is 
iiigli time I put a period to so melancholy a subject ; 
and which shall be concluded witli my submissive expec- 
tations of those seasonable commands you will be pleased 
to lay me under, as to my future conduct in so nice an 
:ii3air. I urn, my lord, with infinite submission, your 
afflicted sou, and most humble servant 



O. J. VALMkR, rmiNTBB, lAVOY irm^», tTBANB* 

173 u7S 





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Harvard College Widener Library 
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